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North Caroliniana Society 

no. 14 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 


The Explorer and His Boswell 

Edited by 



This edition is limited to 

five hundred signed copies 

(plus 100 "A" copies for authors) 

of which this is number 

. 493 

H. G. Jones, General Editor 

No. 1. An Evening at Monticello: An Essay in Reflection (1978) 
by Edwin M. Gill 

No. 2. The Paul Green I Know (1978) 
by Elizabeth Lay Green 

No. 3. The Albert Coates I Know (1979) 
by Gladys Hall Coates 

No. 4. The Sam Ervin I Know (1980) 
by Jean Conyers Ervin 

No. 5. Sam Ragan (1981) 
by Neil Morgan 

No. 6. Thomas Wolfe of North Carolina (1982) 
edited by H. G. Jones 

No. 7. Gertrude Sprague Carraway (1982) 
by Sam Ragan 

No. 8. John Fries Blair (1983) 
by Margaret Blair McCuiston 

No. 9. William Clyde Friday and Ida Howell Friday (1984) 
by Georgia Carroll Kyser and William Brantley Aycock 

No. 10. William S. Powell, North Carolina Historian (1985) 
by David Stick and William C. Friday 

No. 11. "Gallantry Unsurpassed" (1985) 
edited by Archie K. Davis 

No. 12. Mary and Jim Semans, North Carolinians (1986) 
by W. Kenneth Goodson 

No. 13. The High Water Mark (1986) 
edited by Archie K. Davis 

No. 14. Raleigh and Quinn (1987) 
edited by H. G. Jones 


The Explorer and His Boswell 

Papers Presented at the International Sir Walter Raleigh Conference, 

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27-28 March 1987, 

together with 

Papers Read at a Session Titled "The Life and Work of David Beers 

Quinn" at a Meeting of the American Historical Association, 

Chicago, 29 December 1986 

Edited by 

- / k r 


\As [ 


Chapel Hill 
North Caroliniana Society, Inc. 


North Carolina Collection 

Copyright © 1987 by 

North Caroliniana Society, Inc. 

P. O. Box 121 

Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514-0127 

All rights reserved 

Manufactured in the United States of America 



Preface vii 

I. Proceedings of the International Sir Walter Raleigh Conference 
Held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 
27-28 March 1987 1 

Welcoming Remarks, by H. G. Jones, Samuel R. Williamson, 

Kent R. Mullikin, and Lindsay C. Warren, Jr 3 

Raleigh's World, by Helen Wallis 11 

Raleigh's England, by Joan Thirsk 35 

Who were the Roanoke Colonists?, by William S. Powell 51 

Raleigh's Devon, by Joyce Youings 69 

Raleigh's Ireland, by Nicholas Canny 87 

American Colonization through Raleigh's Eyes, 

by John W Shirley 103 

Raleigh's Dream of Empire and Its Seventeenth-Century Career, 

by Karen Ordahl Kupperman 123 

"Fortune's Tennis Ball": Or, Bouncing About with the Bibliography of 

Sir Walter, by Christopher M. Armitage 139 

Ralegh and Drake, by Norman J. W. Thrower 147 

Raleigh as a Man of Letters, by Jerry Leath Mills 165 

II. Proceedings of a Banquet in Honor of David Beers Quinn 
Held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 
27 March 1987 185 

Preliminary Remarks and Presentations, by H. G. Jones, 

Lindsay C. Warren, Jr., and William S. Powell 187 

Tribute to David Beers Quinn, by Gillian T. Cell 193 

Presentation of the North Caroliniana Society's Certificate of Appreciation 
to David Beers Quinn, by Archie K. Davis 199 

North Carolina: My First Contacts, 1948-1959, by 

David Beers Quinn 203 

III. Papers Read at a Session titled The Life and Work of David Beers Quinn 
at a Meeting of the American Historical Association, Chicago, 

29 December 1986 217 

Presiding Remarks, by Douglas E. Leach 219 

Bringing Credibility to a Commemoration: David Beers Quinn and the 
Quadricentennial of the Roanoke Colonies, by H. G. Jones 221 

David Quinn as Historian's Historian, by Karen Ordahl 

Kupperman 225 

David Quinn as Historical Editor, by Thad W. Tate 229 

Introduction of David Beers Quinn, by Lois Green Carr 233 

Reflections, by David Beers Quinn 235 

IV. The Publications of David Beers Quinn for the Years 1932-1987 253 

V. Sir Walter's Surname, by H. G. Jones 267 



Because virtually all of the edited proceedings are printed herein, little needs to 
be said prefatorily about the International Sir Walter Raleigh Conference (and its associ- 
ated banquet in honor of David Beers Quinn) held at the University of North Carolina 
at Chapel Hill on 27-28 March 1987 or the special session titled "The Life and Work 
of David Beers Quinn" conducted at the annual meeting of the American Historical 
Association in Chicago on 29 December 1986. 

Originally we intended to publish only the papers of the Raleigh Conference, held 
in connection with the four-hundredth anniversary of the Roanoke colonies, but in 
recent decades the name Raleigh has become almost inextricably associated with that 
of a professor at the University of Liverpool whose prodigious research and voluminous 
writings have peeled away much of the mystery surrounding the Elizabethan courtier 
and explorer. Consequently, without asking anyone else's opinion, we decided to include 
in this volume the papers relating to Walter Raleigh and David Quinn given on all 
three occasions. When our decision was revealed, all of the speakers happily agreed — 
except, of course, David Quinn, who was kept blissfully unaware of our machinations 
until it was too late for him to protest effectively. Having gone that far, we took 
another step by including an updated bibliography of Quinn's professional publications. 

Bringing together papers and introductions written by more than two dozen persons 
with as many personalities, several disciplines, and three nationalities presents a challenge 
to any editor. Aware of the proclivity of reviewers to dismiss collected essays for their 
unevenness and disparity of content, style, and format, but wishing neither to pit 
one discipline against another nor to cause an international incident, in the editing 
process we allowed considerable latitude to our authors. That permissiveness even ex- 
tended to the spelling of names — such as those of the courtier (Raleigh, Ralegh) and 
his science advisor (Harriot, Hariot). We have also been uncharacteristically tolerant 
of variety in footnoting. Still, we believe that the papers en masse do have commonality 
in their content, style, and format to warrant inclusion between these covers, and 
the North Caroliniana Society is pleased to make them available to a wider audience. 

Robert G. Anthony, Jr., of the North Carolina Collection assisted in the editing 
and proofing processes, Jenny Long retyped many of the manuscripts, and the staff 
of the University of North Carolina's Printing and Duplicating Department exhibited 
competence, patience, and good humor in our effort to meld the writings of twenty-five 
speakers into one book. Finally, the staff of the North Carolina Collection, in the 
midst of moving its rich holdings into spacious and luxuriously renovated facilities, 
only occasionally muttered about the curator's obvious preference for editing manuscripts 
over the more physical chore of moving books and artifacts. 

H. G. Jones 

Chapel Hill, North Carolina 
1 September 1987 



of the 

International Sir Walter Raleigh Conference 

Held at the 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

27-28 March 1987 

Cosponsored by 

America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

National Humanities Center 

North Caroliniana Society 

Most of the speakers at the International Sir Walter Raleigh Conference are pictured 
in two groups. Left to right, top photo: Kupperman, Canny, Powell, Mills, Wallis, 
Williamson, Thirsk, Quinn, Warren, Youings, and Thrower; lower photo: Canny, 
Thrower, Wallis, Youings, Armitage, Kupperman, and Mills. All photos by North Carolina 
Collection unless otherwise noted. 

Welcoming Remarks 

H. G. Jones 

Curator, North Carolina Collection, and 

Secretary-Treasurer, North Caroliniana Society 

Less than twenty-four hours ago the university campus was treated to a concert 
by Walter Raleigh Babson and his banjo. Now, I mean no disrespect, and I probably 
reveal the degree to which my life is sheltered, but I am acquainted with neither 
Mr. Babson nor his music. His timely appearance, however, entirely coincidental 
with the opening of this conference, may in the eyes of some students provide 
a bit of credibility to our two-day study of the man whose name he bears. With 
or without credibility, we now officially open the International Sir Walter Raleigh 
Conference. In doing so, I call your attention to the schedule to which we shall 
rather strictly adhere, for with the exception of civility, perhaps the most precious 
measure of a society is the efficiency with which it makes use of time. Aside 
from that admonition, let me make these brief points: 

First, during the next thirty-six hours we will hear much about history, but 
we also will be making history, for the Raleigh Conference is the very first 
activity in this hallowed Louis Round Wilson Library following its $6 million 
renovation to accommodate the North Carolina Collection and the other special 
collections. This is an exciting moment for those of us who have for three years 
rankled under the proof that the governmental bureaucracy is the embodiment 
of Murphey's law and who at times lost hope that the project would ever be 
completed. Well, it still is not quite completed, but the long awaited move 
back into our expanded quarters — the North Carolina Collection will occupy 
most of this main floor plus four other stack levels — is no more than five months 
off (we say as we cross our fingers). Sadly, we can show you little of the hollow 
building during the conference, and, in fact we will be restricted to this floor 
where only a portion of the new North Caroliniana Gallery, featuring the Sir 
Walter Raleigh Rooms and a portion of the Raleigh Collection, may be seen. 
You must come back in the fall to see the transformation of the building. 

Second, please wear your badge throughout the conference, for the building 
is open only to registrants. Besides, those little colored dots on the badge determine 
to which of the meal functions you will be admitted. Five persons wear red-edged 
badges — mine plus four members of our staff who will be with us throughout 
the conference to help solve any problems that arise. They are R. Neil Fulghum, 
the keeper of the North Caroliniana Gallery; Alice R. Cotten and Robert G. 
Anthony, Jr., who are handling the registration desk; and Jerry W. Cotten, 
who will record the conference on tape and film. 

Raleigh and Quinn 

Welcomers to the Raleigh Conference were, left to right, top to bottom, H. G. Jones, 
Samuel R. Williamson, Kent R. Mullikin, and Lindsay C. Warren, Jr. 

Welcoming Remarks 

Third, I must thank several of our library officials for enabling us to pierce 
the armor of the bureaucracy for permission to hold this unorthodox use of 
the unfinished building: Joe A. Hewitt, the acting university librarian; Marcella 
Grendler, associate university librarian for special collections; Larry Alford, assistant 
university librarian for business and finance; and Michael G. Martin, university 
archivist and general factotum during the renovation process. 

Finally, as the printed program indicates, the conference is sponsored by a 
private organization, two institutions, and a state agency. As secretary- treasurer 
of the North Caroliniana Society, I am standing in for our president, Archie 
K. Davis, who will join us later and speak at the banquet tonight. It has been 
our pleasure to handle arrangements. With us this morning are representatives 
of the other sponsors, and each of them will greet you in turn. 

Samuel R. Williamson, the provost of the University of North Carolina at 
Chapel Hill, is author of The Politics of Grand Strategy and editor of Essays on 
World War I. As a professor of history with specialization in international affairs, 
it is appropriate that he welcome this international conference on behalf of the 
university. It was Provost Williamson who provided resources to bring three 
of our participants from England. 

The prestige of our Research Triangle has been enormously enriched by the 
presence of the National Humanities Center, whose ties are close with the university 
for obvious reasons, but also because its assistant director, a member of its staff 
from the beginning, is one of "ours." To Kent R. Mullikin, I extend our apprecia- 
tion for his support of the conference and for the delightful reception and dinner 
given at the center last night for our speakers. 

Lindsay C. Warren, Jr., will not only greet you but also preside over the 
remainder of the morning's program. And properly so, for it is America's Four 
Hundredth Anniversary Committee that provides the primary support for this 
entire conference. We are in the final year of a four-year series of commemorative 
activities that have, under his leadership, educated North Carolinians and other 
Americans in the significance of the subject that we consider today and tomorrow. 
Lindsay's father, the former congressman and comptroller general of the United 
States, as early as 1955 urged preparations for the quadricentennial of the Roanoke 
voyages, and it was appropriate that in 1980 the Warren name again became 
associated with the commemoration as chairman of AFHAC. 

6 Raleigh and Quinn 

Samuel R. Williamson 

Provost and Professor of History 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

I am delighted on behalf of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
to welcome you to Wilson Library in its renovated state and to this International 
Conference on Sir Walter Raleigh. All of us in the university family— faculty, 
students, staff— welcome you. As a historian, I hope you will permit me some 
additional remarks. 

Historians and universities often think in terms of anniversaries, in terms of 
traditions, in terms of symbols. The four hundredth anniversary celebrations 
that have been going on in North Carolina are indicative of that. Thanks to 
the efforts of Lindsay Warren, John Neville, H. G. Jones, former Governor James 
B. Hunt, Jr., and Governor James G. Martin, and others, the people of North 
Carolina have been reminded— and broader audiences even than North Carolinians 
have been reminded — about the nature of America's link with its British past 
and of the value of history and of historical activity. We have been reminded 
of our English heritage, and we have created a lot of work for historians — and 
of course that's always a good thing. In addition, the university likes anniversaries, 
and we are beginning to think about how, only two hundred years after the 
Roanoke voyages of Sir Walter Raleigh, North Carolinians meeting in Fayette- 
ville decided to establish a state university. Now, as this university moves toward 
its bicentennial celebration, we are reminded again of the importance of 

Universities and historians also are interested in traditions. Historians like to 
refine the past — indeed the past is never over, for each generation reinterprets 
the past and finds new things of interest about the past. I think this conference 
and the titles of the papers are perfectly indicative of the fact that what might 
seem to be a dead past is in fact a live past as we reinterpret and think anew 
about our history. Universities, in recognizing their traditions, are prone to put 
together international conferences because this is one of the things we believe 
the university is about. This is one of the traditions of academic life, bringing 
together scholars to exchange ideas, occasionally to antagonize and provoke each 
other, because a little lively controversy, a little dialectical tension, is very useful 
for generating new sets of perspectives. And so it is particularly fitting, we think, 
in this renovated library that this should be the very first event — an international 
conference linking us with the world community of scholars. Helping to put 
this conference together has been the staff of the North Carolina Collection, 
as H. G. has mentioned, and I particularly would like to pay homage to Mike 
Martin, the University Archivist, whose labors in connection with the building 
renovation have ranged from the mundane to the sublime. 

Welcoming Remarks 

Universities and historians are concerned with a third area of activity— symbols. 
Historians deal with symbols, and if you go into the Sir Walter Raleigh Rooms 
you will see a series of symbols — artifacts, parchments, paintings, sculpture. Uni- 
versities and historians like symbols, and in a sense the Louis Round Wilson Library 
is a symbol — a symbol of a vision of what we can do for the people of the 
state, a symbol of how we can relate anew to our fellow North Carolinians. 
And it is a fitting event that Sir Walter Raleigh, who sponsored new voyages 
of discovery, should be the topic of the first discussion in this renovated structure. 
We see this building as a new voyage as the University ventures forth to welcome 
the people of North Carolina to learn more about their heritage as they see 
our special collections and pay attention to what we have been able to assemble 
by the diligent efforts of a lot of people over a long period of time. 

So this is a joyful moment for us as a university, and for me as a historian, 
for it is a grateful chance for us to think about four hundred years of history, 
to celebrate an anniversary, to think about traditions of intellectual life, and to 
celebrate the opening of a new symbol. I have to believe that Sir Walter Raleigh 
would be pleased, perhaps slightly amused, pearl earring and all, by these proceed- 
ings, and on behalf of the University of North Carolina, I welcome you to them. 

8 Raleigh and Quinn 

Kent R. Mullikin 

Assistant Director, National Humanities Center 

I should like to thank H. G. Jones and the others who have had a hand in 
planning an impressive international conference. A glance through the program 
suggests that Sir Walter Raleigh retains his power to dispatch adventurers— in 
this instance scholar adventurers — across the Atlantic. It is an honor for the 
National Humanities Center to be associated with this intellectual enterprise. 

There is no doubt that the National Humanities Center and its company 
of scholars have found North Carolina a much more hospitable environment 
than did that small band of English settlers who disappeared from Roanoke 
Island four hundred years ago. I like to think, however, that Raleigh's colonists 
have something to do with the Center's location, for among the attractions 
of North Carolina to the founders of the Center were this state's rich history 
and, equally important, its deep appreciation of the value of history. I might 
add that the founders of the Center were fortunate to encounter a North Carolinian 
who embodies that enlightened appreciation of history— the current President 
of the North Caroliniana Society, Archie K. Davis, who has worked unstintingly 
in behalf of the Center. His love of North Carolina's past made him a historian 
in his own right and gave him a sympathetic understanding of scholarly inquiry. 

The National Humanities Center has benefited in many instances from its 
connection with North Carolina, its universities, and its traditions of learning. 
One very special benefit was the presence at the Center several years ago of 
David and Alison Quinn; they came over from Liverpool, drawn by the quadricen- 
tennial of Raleigh's colony, to complete the book Set Fair for Roanoke, which 
was commissioned by America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee and 
published by the University of North Carolina Press. It is a great pleasure to 
see the Quinns here again, and it is also gratifying to recognize among our 
distinguished speakers two current Fellows of the Center, Joan Thirsk and Nicholas 
Canny, and former Fellow Karen Kupperman. 

On behalf of the National Humanities Center, I am happy to welcome all 
of the participants to a conference that exemplifies the ideals of scholarship which 
have long characterized this state and which are a powerful reason the National 
Humanities Center likes calling North Carolina home. 

Welcoming Remarks 

Lindsay C. Warren, Jr. 

Chairman, America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee 

On Behalf of America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee, one of the 
sponsors of this conference, I extend to each of you a warm and cordial welcome. 
The conference has long been on the agenda of the committee as one of its 
sponsored programs during this the last year of the commemoration. I want 
to publicly thank Dr. H. G. Jones for his willingness to assume the responsibility 
for planning and organizing the conference. As usual, he has done an excellent 
job, particularly in attracting a distinguished panel of participants, four of whom 
have come from England and Ireland. I am confident we will enjoy an entertaining 
as well as educational experience during the next two days. 

One of the key goals of America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee, 
during the commemoration of the Roanoke voyages, has been to raise the con- 
sciousness of the people of North Carolina, indeed of the nation, to the historical 
significance of the English beginning in this country. We have done this through 
a variety of programs, including commemorative events, the construction of 
the Elizabeth II and the Elizabeth II State Historic Site on Roanoke Island, archaeo- 
logical explorations, and through the publication of books, pamphlets, and folders 
written and edited by historians familier with the period. This conference is 
a continuation of that process, with emphasis on the life of Walter Raleigh, 
whose dreams, ingenuity, and determination made possible the Roanoke voyages. 
It is good that we pause and reflect upon the life of this interesting man, for 
he among all Elizabethans did the most to extend English influence to the New 
World. Although his efforts were frustrated, the dream kindled by his spirit 
was eventually realized through the permanent colony at Jamestown twenty 
years later; and from those beginnings, came our English heritage which permeates 
so many American institutions today. And so it is appropriate during this com- 
memorative year that we salute Walter Raleigh and examine at this conference 
the man, his times, and his influence on English colonization in the New World. 

Raleigh's World 

Helen Wallis* 

Bishop George Carleton, surveying "the great and mercifull Deliverances of 
the Church and State" from the reign of Elizabeth to 1624, opened his chronicle 
with comments on the "weak estate of this Kingdome at Queens Elizabeths 
entrance": "All the great States about her, were enemies. Friends none." King 
Philip of Spain, refused in marriage, "grew first into dislike and discontent, after- 
wardes into hatred, and at last brake out into open warres. The French, King 
Henry the 2, with whom she sought peace, fell off also into open Warres . . . Spaine, 
France, and Scotland were enemies. . . . The treasure was exhausted; Calis was 
lost. Nothing seemed to be left to her, but a weake, and poor State, destitute 
of meanes and friends." 1 

Such was the outlook in 1558 when young Walter Raleigh was about five 
years old. The population of England was then 3.16 million as estimated, whereas 
the population of North Carolina is now 6 million. By 1600 the population 
of England and Wales was 4.3 million, with a density of 75 per square mile, 
as compared to 16-18 million for France (the highest in Europe), density 90; 
and Spain and Portugal, 11 million, density 50. It is believed that by the end 
of Elizabeth's reign the population of England may have been 35 percent higher 
than at the start. 2 The increase in population in the earlier years of the reign 
explains the contemporary belief that England was over populated and therefore 
needed colonies. Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Raleigh's elder half brother, commented, 
"England is pestered with people." 

If the political situation abroad in 1558 was not encouraging, it must be said 
that Carleton's picture would have been even gloomier had he raised his eyes 
beyond the Narrow Seas. The patterns of exploration, discovery, and conquest 
had been established over more than half a century before, and England as yet 
had barely entered the race. Two great movements of expansion had commanded 
the interest and resources of the major European powers, Portugal and Spain. 

The first project in execution was the search for the route eastward to the 
East Indies. By 1520 Portugal had gained control of the route round the Cape 
of Good Hope and had established a network of commercial and military bases. 
Intention and achievement went together. She had accomplished what she had 
set out to do. Her empire was the envy of the world. It is significant that one 
of the treasures in Raleigh's library was the manuscript Roteiro of the Red Sea, 
1541, by Joao de Castro, fourth Viceroy of India. As Samuel Purchas recorded, 
Raleigh had purchased the manuscript for £60, and had had it translated into 
English. 3 Although Raleigh's own activities were directed to the western hemi- 
sphere, his studies for the History of the World (London: 1614) were primarily 


Raleigh and Quinn 

Helen Wallis, retired map librarian of the British Library, opened the conference with 
a slide/lecture on "Raleigh's World." 

concerned with old world strategies. He describes the navigation about Africa 
from east to west by the Phoenicians and the achievement many centuries later 
by Vasco da Gama in rounding the Cape of Good Hope from west to east in 
1497. 4 England was interested in this, the most practicable route to the east, 
but was hesitant as yet to challenge the Portuguese monopoly. 

The second grand aim was the exploration and exploitation of the American 
continent, following the discovery of its central parts by Columbus for Spain 
from 1492 to 1504, and of the south (Brazil) by Pedro Alvarez Cabral for Portugal 
in 1500. Like John Cabot's explorations in the north undertaken for England 
in 1497 and 1498, these were accidental discoveries made in the search for a 
western, or (in respect of Cabral) in pursuit of a more convenient southern, 
route to the Orient. 

Contemporaries were disappointed at first with that "other world" of America. 
Only gradually did Europeans begin to see the continent as valuable in its own 
right. The discovery of the rich empires of Mexico and Peru accelerated the 
process. The commercial motive was paramount, whatever explorers conceived 
as their sense of mission. They sold their projects to the country most interested 
to back them. Sovereigns and merchants had to be satisfied that they would 
gain a good return for their money. John Smith, in A Map of Virginia (1612), 

Raleigh's World 13 

reported that Queen Isabella had pawned her jewels to support Columbus when 
all the wise men condemned him. (In fact, she proposed to raise the money 
on her crown jewels, and in the event this was not necessary.) 5 

The pattern of conquest and trade had followed upon the political determina- 
tions of Spain and Portugal. The division of the world according to the Treaty 
of Tordesillas, 1494, gave Spain the western hemisphere and Portugal the eastern. 
Alberto Cantino's world map of 1502 marks the dividing line. A map of c.1610 
(known in a late eighteenth century copy) 6 shows the two empires then united 
under the sovereignty of Spain, since Philip II had claimed the Portuguese throne 
in 1580. 

Although the Spanish and Portuguese governments enforced strict rules about 
keeping secret the maps and charts of their imperial domains, emigre map-makers 
plying their trade abroad could be employed to make maps for well-paying clients. 
Thus Queen Mary I of England commissioned from the Portuguese Diego Homem 
in 1558 a fine manuscript atlas of the world, probably intending it for her husband 
King Philip II of Spain as a New Year's gift. 7 On the chart of Western Europe 
their joint arms are inscribed over England, of which Philip was titular king. 
The atlas was still unfinished when Mary died in November 1558, and when 
the manuscript came into Elizabeth's hands the queen seems petulantly to have 
scratched out Philip's arms. For the rest, the atlas displays in fine detail Spanish 
and Portuguese discoveries and settlements. 

Nearly twenty years later in 1586 Raleigh was to commission Andre Homem, 
Diego's kinsman, to make a map for him, and Richard Hakluyt, referring to 
the map, described Andre as "the prince of the Cosmographers of this age." 8 
Similarities between Diego's chart of 1558 and Andre Homem's of 1559 9 (his 
only work known today) give an idea of what Andre's chart might have looked 
like, allowing for the addition of Antonio de Espejo's discoveries in New Mexico 
in 1583, in which Raleigh had a particular interest. 10 The report of a silver 
mine aroused hopes of minerals in the hinterland of Virginia. 

Queen Mary's atlas was one of many geographical and cartographic works 
in the royal palaces; others are recorded in the inventory of Henry VIII's possessions 
at the time of his death in 1547. The little study called "the new Librarye in 
Whitehall" contained, for example, "a black coffer covered with fustian of Naples 
full of plattes (maps)" and there was "a great globe of the description of the 
worlde." 11 Then in 1549, or shortly after, the most important map of its generation 
was added to the collection, namely Sebastian Cabot's world map. Sebastian 
had returned to England in 1547 in his old age after 40 years in Spanish service, 
and had his world map — probably a revised version of his map of 1544 — engraved 
by Clement Adams in 1549. 

Cabot's map was hanging in the 1560s in the Queen's privy gallery in Whitehall, 
as Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Richard Hakluyt record. 12 It provided authoritative 
evidence for Cabot's claimed discovery of the northwest passage round North 

14 Raleigh and Quinn 

America, c.1508 to 1509. The earlier discoveries of John Cabot, with his son 
Sebastian as companion, 1497 to 1498, were also documented. 

The map remained on display for many years, publicly attesting England's 
right to northern North America by priority of discovery. Samuel Purchas in 
about 1618 reports the map as hanging in "His Majesties Gallerie at White 
Hall, neere the Privie Chamber." He describes it as "that Map (wherein is Cabotas 
Picture, the first and great Columbus for the Northerne Worlde)," and he names 
Cabot as "Discoverer for Henry the Seventh, of America," asserting that all 
the northern coasts of America were discovered by Sebastian Cabot and other 
Englishmen. 13 

Cabot may be seen as the "eminence grise," who influenced England's overseas 
activities in Raleigh's early days and for many years to come. His leading reputation 
in arctic matters and the geopolitics of the day combined to commend northern 
enterprise. There followed the beginnings of that long search to discover the 
northern passages to Asia which may be described as the triumph of hope over 
experience. These arctic exploits illustrate the powerful economic motives operating 
in the search for an exclusive route to the East. Raleigh's verses in the History 
of the World (1614), translated from the Latin, sum up the driving force of 

Nor Southerne heate, nor Northerne snow 
That freezing to the ground doth grow, 
The subject Regions can fence, 
And keepe the greedie Merchant thence. 
The subtile Shipmen way will finde, 
Storme neuer so the Seas with Winde. 14 

The first voyages to the northwest were those of Martin Frobisher, 1576, 
1577, and 1578. These were very much part of Raleigh's world. There was a 
family connection through Raleigh's elder half brother Sir Humphrey Gilbert, 
who in the 1560s was a leading advocate of the discovery of the northwest passage. 
Gilbert's Discourse of a Discouerie for a New Passage to Cataia, written in 1566 
and published in London in 1576, sets out the likelihood and the advantages 
of the discovery. Its woodcut map, notable as the first world map published 
in England, was drawn on a cordiform projection as a miniature version of Abraham 
Ortelius's large world map of 1564. The map showed a convenient open route 
round the North American continent. The publication of the Discourse in 1576, 
ostensibly without Gilbert's permission, was intended as an encouragement for 
Frobisher's Company of Cathay, which was preparing its first expedition. 

The enterprise turned into a treasure hunt, and when Frobisher's supposed 
mine of 1577 proved worthless, several fortunes were lost. The disappointing 
results had, however, a wider significance. Disillusioned over the northwest pas- 
sage, Gilbert turned his interests to colonization in North America. On 11 June 
1578 he obtained a royal patent "to discover searche finde out and view such 

Raleigh's World 


World map by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, from A Discourse of a Discouerie for a New Passage 
to Cataia (London: 1576). By permission of the British Library. 

remote heathen and barbarous landes . . . not actually possessed of any Christian 
prince." The expedition that sailed in November 1578 had Walter Raleigh as 
captain of the Falcon, and Raleigh's pilot was the navigator and privateer originally 
from the Azores, Simao Fernandez, the sinister figure who was to play such 
an important role for good or ill in the Roanoke enterprises. The expedition 
proved abortive, its ships returning from a brief Atlantic excursion. Gilbert resumed 
his plans, and despite the Queen's entreaties set out himself in 1583 on a colonizing 
voyage to northern North America. He took possession of Newfoundland for 
the Queen on 5 August 1583, but his ship the Squirrel foundered with all hands 
on the return voyage. "We are as neere to heaven by sea as by land" were his 
last recorded words. 

Gilbert was a true pioneer in England's colonial expansion, and he prepared 
the way for Raleigh's project. Raleigh's patent for "the discovering and planting 
of new lands and Countries" was based on Gilbert's, which in this sense had reverted 
to the younger kinsman; but the new patent excluded Newfoundland, where 
Gilbert's own family may have claimed rights. 15 

16 Raleigh and Quinn 

North American projects benefitted also from the interest of the redoubtable 
Dr. John Dee, lately geographical adviser to Frobisher, now establishing himself 
as the authority on England's title to northern North America. Gilbert's Discourse 
had gained Dee's attention, and Gilbert was brought into Dee's circle. On receiving 
his patent, Gilbert granted Dee the right to all discoveries north of 50° north 
latitude. After Gilbert's death, Dee followed this up in promoting an enterprise 
with Gilbert's younger brother Adrian and the navigator John Davis. 

Dee was active also as a publicist. His General and rare memorials pertayning 
to the Perfect Arte of navigation (London: 1577) foretold the imperial and maritime 
destiny of England. It was the first volume of a four-volume work on the "British 
Empire," a term which Dee coined himself. The hieroglyphic frontispiece shows 
Elizabeth at the helm of the Christian ship of Europe, as mistress of the seas. 
In 1580 Dee argued the cause to the Queen in person, presenting her with 
a tract, "Her Majesty's Title Royal to many foreign countries, kingdoms and 
provinces." He illustrated his thesis with a map of northern regions, endorsed 
with a summary text of his argument: "Of a great parte of the Sea Coastes 
of Atlantis (otherwise called America,) next unto us . . . the Title Royall and 
Christian Supreme Government, is due, and appropriate unto Our Soveraigne 
Elizabeth . . . No other Prince or Potentate else in the whole world, being hable 
to allege thereto any Clayme. . . ." 16 

Colonizing projects were thus in the wind in the early 1580s. In 1583 Christo- 
pher Carleill, stepson of Sir Francis Walsingham, attempted to promote an English 
colony in Nova Scotia, Maine, or the St. Lawrence, addressing himself to the 
Muscovy Company for support in a pamphlet which he reissued in 1584. 17 
Richard Hakluyt the younger meanwhile had provided a handbook for the English 
colonization of North America in his Divers voyages touching the discouerie of America 
(London: 1582), complete with two maps. That by Robert Thorne in 1527 
ranks as the first known world map made by an Englishman. A legend off 
the northeast coast of America, added perhaps by Hakluyt himself, reads (in 
translation from the Latin), "This land was first discovered by the English." 
It is, I believe, the first documentation of England's claim on a printed map 
of wide circulation, as distinct from Cabot's map, which came into the hands 
of a more privileged few. 

Hakluyt's second map, obtained from Michael Lok, the London merchant, 
was derived from a chart of Gerolamo Verrazzano, c.1527, presented to Henry 
VIII. It shows the "Mare de Verrazana 1524" as cutting into the American conti- 
nent in 40° north, a configuration mistakenly deduced from observations of 
the Carolina Outer Banks by Giovanni Verrazzano, with his brother Gerolamo. 18 
This encouraging belief that the Pacific lay close to the continent's eastern shores 
does not appear to be the reason for the site of Raleigh's first colony. There 
is no reference to the map or to the ideas behind it in the surviving accounts 
of the Roanoke Colony. The Verrazzanian concept was to hold sway, nevertheless, 
for many years. 

Raleigh's World 


Jfv wv t w -yw^ w*-> 

ji *W***^ (-u /fcyiffvt* /&+- U JhUfrtdL* 

Hieroglyphic frontispiece showing Queen Elizabeth at the helm of the Christian ship of Europe. 
In John Dee, General and Rare Memorials pertayning to the Perfect Arte of Navigation (London: 
1577). By permission of the British Library. 


Raleigh and Quinn 

Map of North America by Michael Lok, 1582, from Richard Hakluyt's Divers voyages 
touching the discouerie of America (London: 1582). By permission of the British Library. 

In the early 1580s American colonization was becoming a serious preoccupation 
in England. The citizens of London, however, were concerned with a more 
epoch-making event, the return of Francis Drake from his voyage round the 
world, 1577 to 1580, later celebrated as "the famous voyage of Sir Francis Drake." 
He had burst into the closed Spanish sphere of the South Seas, attacking Spanish 
ports on the western American coasts. He had taken possession of Nova Albion 
(California) in northwestern America in the name of Elizabeth. Sailing on westward 
he had confronted the Portuguese at the very heart of their empire, Ternate 
in the Moluccas. The Golden Hind had arrived home laden with gold and silver 
bullion. Edmond Howes in his continuation (1615) of the Annales (1580) of 
John Stow, wrote that the news of Drake's wealth "so far fetcht was marvelous 
strange, and of all men held impossible, and incredible, but both prouing true, 
it fortuned, that many misliked it . . . terming him the Master theefe of the 
unknown world." 19 

Raleigh's World 


If admiration was mixed with unease in certain quarters, Drake had proved, 
nevertheless, that the Luso-Hispanic world, united in 1580 under Philip II of 
Spain, was an easy prey. The man in the street and foreigners alike applauded 
Drake's audacity: "His name (writes Howes) was a terrour to the French, Spaniard, 
Portugal and Indians. Many Princes of Italy, Germany, and others, as well enemies 
as friends in his life time desired his Picture. He was the second that ever went 
through the Straights of Magellan ... in briefe he was famous in Europe, and 
America, as Tamburlaine in Asia, and Affrica. In his imperfections hee was ambitious 
for honor, unconstant in amity, greatly affected to popularity." 

Official circles were more circumspect in their reactions. Elizabeth's ministers 
imposed a rigorous secrecy on all detailed reports of the voyage, securing for 
themselves the fullest possible records. Early in October 1580 Drake had presented 
Elizabeth with "a diary of everything that happened during the three years he 
was away and a very large map." This is the earliest reference to the chart of 
Drake's voyage which Purchas recorded in 1618 as hanging in "His Majesties 
Gallerie at White Hall, neere the Privie Chamber," and next to Cabot's map. 
In the early 1580s Drake's map was not publicly displayed, but surreptitious 
copies were made. The earliest is that engraved by Nicola van Sype, published 
probably at Antwerp about 1583. A somewhat later version is the manuscript 
map now known as the Drake-Mellon map, evidently drawn after 1586 as it 
marks Drake's West Indian voyage, 1585 to 1586. The third and latest derivative 
was engraved and perhaps issued in London c.1590 by the Flemish emigre map- 
maker Jodocus Hondius, who on his return to the continent published it at 
Amsterdam, c.1595. 20 



P*50 I 

WZ£W£ '% 




■&. ' ; -.-.:.' hXl.. s 

ilx.IL, j ,. 

Map of Drake's circumnavigation, 1577-1580. Engraved by Nicola van Sype. (Antwerp? 
ca. 1583.) By permission of the British Library. 

20 Raleigh and Quinn 

The full significance of Drake's voyage therefore could not be appreciated at 
first. Only after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 was the ban on reports 
and publication removed. The psychological impact of the achievement, however, 
was immediate. Many years later, in 1725, Daniel Defoe referred to "that famous 
old Wives saying, viz. That Sir Francis Drake shot the Gulph; a Saying that 
was current in England for many Years, I believe near a Hundred after Sir Francis 
Drake was gone his Long Journey of all. . . ." 21 The saying that Drake shot the 
gulf, that is, sailed through the Strait of Magellan into the South Sea, became 
one of the many Drake legends. It is recorded that when the curator at Oxford 
showed visitors Drake's portrait, with Drake holding a pistol in one hand, he 
used to say that this was "the very pistol with which Sir Francis shot the gulf." 
I have identified the picture as the full length portrait which the Bodleian acquired 
by gift in 1674 and which has recently been revealed as Frobisher's. 22 Thus for 
many years Frobisher unwittingly masqueraded as Drake with a pistol in his 
hand shooting the gulf, a symbol of England's challenge to Spanish supremacy 
in the western world. 

Drake was a kinsman of Raleigh's, and about fourteen years his senior. His 
mother had been the first of the three wives of Raleigh's father. They shared 
an inveterate hatred of Spain. John Aubrey in his Brief Lives (completed by 1696) 
wrote that Raleigh was "next to Sir Francis Drake, the great Scourge and hate 
of the Spaniard." 23 Hopes of gaining wealth at the expense of Spain were to 
feature large in Raleigh's plans, explaining inconstancies of purpose in his colonizing 
pursuits. Drake was a powerful figure in Raleigh's expanding world. We do 
not know the full extent of their later collaboration in American initiatives, 
only the facts of Drake's direct participation in calling at Roanoke in June 1586 
and in the event rescuing the colonists. 

While Drake's exploit was being celebrated in London and arousing alarm 
and despondency in Spain, Raleigh was engaged in military service in Ireland 
from 1580 to 1581. On his recall to England hs embarked in 1582 on his meteoric 
career as the Queen's favourite at court, receiving many tokens of appreciation, 
notably the enjoyment of Durham House as his home (1583) and a grant of 
wines (1584). These favours were crowned on 25 March 1584 by the grant of 
letters patent for colonization in North America. 

In promoting the colonizing venture Raleigh had the advantage of an influential 
circle of friends and associates. They included Dee, whom he had already consulted 
in matters of navigation. The map which Raleigh presumably used for planning 
the voyage of 1584 was a copy of a chart of the Atlantic and North America 
by Simao Fernandes, who had lent the original to Dee at his house at Mortlake 
on 20 November 1580. 24 Dee had probably consulted the original in designing 
his own map for presentation to the Queen in August 1580. 25 

Dee, however, was becoming increasingly interested in the occult, conjuring 
up through his medium, the notorious Edward Kelley, spirits who were required 

Raleigh's World 21 

to advise on various matters, including procedures for colonizing North America. 
We displayed in our British Library exhibition the magic mirror, a rare Aztec 
piece, which Dee and Kelley used for their spiritual seances: 

Kelly did all his Feats upon 
The Devil's Looking-Glass, a stone, 
Where playing with him at Bo-peep, 
He solv'd all problems ne'er so deep. 26 

When Dee in 1583 took himself off to the continent with Kelley, Raleigh turned 
to other authorities. 

Most notable was Richard Hakluyt. He had hoped to sail to America himself, 
but instead went to Paris in 1583 as chaplain to the resident ambassador. His 
"Discourse of Western Planting," as it is now known, was written between 
July and October 1584 at the request of Raleigh and Sir Thomas Walsingham 
to encourage the Queen's official support for the American venture. Hakluyt 
argued persuasively for large-scale imperial expansion, challenging the legality 
of Spain's claims. He completed the work shortly after the return of Philip Amadas 
and Arthur Barlowe from their reconnaissance expedition to America, and it 
was presented to the Queen on 3 October 1584. The only manuscript of the 
Discourse which survives is a fair copy, probably Sir Francis Walsingham's. 27 
As the colonizing enterprise proceeded Hakluyt also encouraged Raleigh 
by means of dedications to the books he was sponsoring and editing. In the 
dedication to Peter Martyr's De Orbe Novo (Paris: 1587), he exhorted Raleigh 
to emulate the "doughty deeds of Ferdinand Cortes, the Castilian, stout conqueror 
of New Spain." 28 Hakluyt named Raleigh, with Sir John Hawkins and his cousin 
the elder Richard Hakluyt, as "my cheefest light" for western discoveries. He 
printed in The principall navigations (London: 1589) the narrative of "the beginnings, 
and proceedings of the two English Colonies planted in Virginia at the charges 
of Sir Walter Raleigh, whose entrance upon those newe inhabitations had bene 
happie, if it had ben as seruiously followed, as it was cheerefully undertaken," 
a shrewd comment on Raleigh's efforts as an entrepreneur. 29 

Fernandes, pilot of the reconnaissance expedition of 1584 and the two colonizing 
voyages of 1585-86 and 1587, belonged to a very different circle, the privateering 
fraternity. Since about 1577 he had been in the service of Walsingham, principal 
secretary of state from 1573, and was known as "Master Secretary Walsingham's 
man." To the Portuguese and Spaniards he was "a thorough-paced scoundrel," 
as the Spanish ambassador reported in 1578 to Philip II, writing about Gilbert's 
expedition and warning the king that Fernandes had given the English "much 
information about that coast, which he knows very well." 30 This knowledge 
of American coasts made Fernandes's services invaluable to Raleigh. In 1584 
he led the reconnaissance expedition of Amadas and Barlowe to Hatarask, an 
inlet in the Carolina Outer Banks, which he professed to know from a previous 
expedition in Spanish service. The harbour at Hatarask was named in his honour 

22 Raleigh and Quinn 

Port Ferdinando. His role, however, became increasingly controversial as the ven- 
tures proceeded. His view of the colony as a military outpost intended as a 
base for attacking galleons of the Spanish silver fleet was in keeping with his 
predilections as a privateer and his enmity for the Spaniards, which his masters 

The conflict of interests became more acute when Fernandes sailed with White 
in 1587 on the second colonizing venture. Despite the intended destination of 
Chesapeake Bay, he deposited the settlers at Roanoke. John White, the governor, 
wrote bitterly of "Fernandes and his wicked pretenses," words reminiscent of 
comments on Fernandes as "the head and origin of all evil" made by his companions 
on Edward Fenton's voyage of 1582. Yet he was to be praised, rightly no doubt 
(to give him his due). Pedro Diaz, pilot of the Spanish ship seized by Sir Richard 
Grenville, described him "as a great pilot and the person who induced them 
[the English] to settle there." 

Privateering was almost a prerequisite for the success of the first colony owing 
to the lack of official support. Cautious and equivocal as always, the Queen 
limited her part in the venture to a gift of gunpowder, the loan of a royal ship, 
the Tyger, and the release of Ralph Lane from military duties in Ireland to serve 
as governor of the first colony, 1585-86. This meant that Raleigh depended 
for the most part on merchants in the city. Walsingham, named as an "adventurer," 
was the most powerful of his backers. As John Smith, governor of the later 
Virginia colony, was to remark, reliance on "privy men's purses" was no basis 
for a successful colony. 

The conduct of Sir Richard Grenville, who was one of Raleigh's Devonshire 
cousins and served as "generall" of the 1585 expedition, illustrates the attractions 
of privateering. On his way home in 1585 to bring out a second expedition 
under Amias Preston and Bernard Drake, he took a Spanish prize to the value 
of between 40,000 and 50,000 ducats. The voyage was "made," the adventurers 
refunded, and profits shared between Raleigh and Grenville. In 1586 on his second 
Roanoke voyage, having found the colony abandoned, Grenville landed at the 
Azores, despoiled towns, and took captives. His name comes down in history 
as "Grenville of the Revenge," who died a hero's death at the Azores in 1591. 

Another high ranking adventurer was the young Thomas Cavendish of Suffolk, 
who served as high marshall and was captain of the Elizabeth, which he had 
furnished himself. His duties were to act as legal authority, and disagreements 
between him and Grenville as general may have arisen from rivalry as to their 
respective roles. This was only one of the many dissentions which broke out 
on the outward voyage and were to beset the company during their stay at 
Roanoke. Grenville's chastisements of his officers and their attendants called forth 
from Lane accusations against Grenville of "intolerable pride and insatiable 

Raleigh's World 23 

Raleigh himself was destined never to set foot on North American soil. As 
the Queen's favourite and (from 1587) captain of the guard it was his duty to 
stay at home. There is no direct evidence, indeed, that he would have planned 
to go. His role was more effective as the organizer at base. There he received 
from the Queen signal honours on the return of Amadas and Barlowe. On Twelfth 
Night in January 1585 she knighted him and allowed the new land of "Winganda- 
coa" to be named in her honour Virginia. Raleigh was appointed its "Lord and 
Governor." As David Quinn has pointed out, the name made this a landmark 
in American history, for it was applied to all the coastlines covered by Raleigh's 
patent. 31 It set England's seal on a large territory of eastern North America. 

Whatever the competence of the officers who carried out Raleigh's undertakings, 
the first colony suffered the disadvantage of an unsuitable site. It seems clear 
that under the guidance of Fernandes, Amadas and Barlowe in 1584 had been 
seeking the "Golfo de Sta Maria," which was in fact Chesapeake Bay; but the 
area of Pamlico Sound with its numerous islands behind the Carolina Outer 
Banks could well have been mistaken for the "Gulf." 32 Military preoccupations 
would also justify a site strategically placed for attacking the galleons of the 
Spanish silver fleet. The reconnaissance party had chosen, in effect, one of the 
most dangerous stretches of North American coast. The sketch map (perhaps 
by Thomas Harriot), sent back probably with Lane's letter of 8 September 1585 

v - 

i M, 

T ^— 

**v . 



jketch map of the landing area in Raleigh's "Virginia," September 1585 (looking west). Public 
:cord Office, London, MPG 584. By permission of the keeper of the records. 


Raleigh and Quinn 

to Walsingham, illustrates the setting. 33 John White's derivative map-view, engraved 
by Theodore de Bry, "The arrival of the Englishmen in Virginia," 1590, is decked 
with tell-tale shipwrecks. 34 Precarious from the first, the colony was organized 
as a military outpost under strict discipline. As to the men, Lane commented 
(in a letter to Sir Philip Sydney of 12 August) on having "emungst sauvages, 
the chardege of wylde menn of myne owene nacione." 


in Virginia 


nghQiemen 1 1. 

John White's map-view of the site of the Roanoke colony. In Theodor de Bry, America, 
part 1 (Frankfurt am Main: 1590), pi. II. By permission of the British Library. 

The end came suddenly and unpredictably. While Grenville's return was still 
awaited, Drake called at Roanoke on 9 June 1586 with supplies and reinforcements 
collected in the course of the "famous West Indian Voyage" (1585-86). A storm 
blew up while Drake was negotiating on land, and the settlers opted for 

The venture of 1587 as a colony of settlement was totally different in conception 
from the first. Raleigh retained his rights as patentee, but no longer bore the 
costs. There were 114 participants, men, women and children, under the governor- 
ship of John White, the artist of the first voyage. His twelve assistants included 

Raleigh's World 


Baptista Boazio's map depicting the track of Drake's West Indian voyage of 1585-86, 
on which he rescued Lane's colonists. From Walter Bigges, A summarie and true dis- 
course of Sir Fraunces Drakes West Indian Voyage (London: 1589). By permission of the 
British Library. 

"Simon Ferdinando of London, gentleman." The objective was to establish the 
"City of Raleigh in Virginia," incorporated on 1 January 1587, and the intended 
site was on Chesapeake Bay, as recommended by Hakluyt. Fernandes, however, 
diverted the purpose, and the settlers found themselves at Roanoke. 

The final outcome, the story of the Lost Colony, is the first tragic episode 
of Anglo-American history. White was persuaded to go home for supplies, and 
his return was delayed by the imminent danger of invasion by Spain. In 1590 
when he set foot once more on Roanoke Island, he found the colony deserted. 
The only clue to its fate was the single word "Croatoan" carved on a wooden 
post, without the pre-arranged distress signal. 

Paradoxically, Virginia was to become famous in the year that White made 
his discovery of the colonists' disappearance. This was the achievement above 
all of White himself, and Thomas Harriot, who had joined Raleigh's household 
in 1583 as tutor in the navigational sciences. They had brought back from Roanoke 
in 1586 maps and surveys, some hundreds of drawings by White, 35 and manuscripts 
comprising a full geographical report by Harriot. Together they provided a fine 


Raleigh and Quinn 

1 1 1 ;l i i 


John White's drawing of the village of Secoton (left) and Raleigh's "Virginia" (right). 
Watercolours. By permission of the British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings, 
1906-5-9-1(7) and 1906-5-9-1(3), respectively. 

\ ' 











^ . »*' 




record of the Carolina Algonquian's way of life, and of the resources of the 
country. Harriot wrote up his notes in summary form for A brief and true report 
of the newfound land of Virginia (London: 1588), which was intended to encourage 
the future development of Virginia. 

White's graphic documentation, on the contrary, might never have been pub- 
lished but for the visit to London of Theodor de Bry, the great Flemish printer, 
He came to engrave Thomas Lant's drawings of Sir Philip Sidney's funeral in 
February 1586. He became acquainted with Jacques Le Moyne, artist in the 
Huguenot colony in Florida, 1564-65, of whom Raleigh and Lady Mary Sidney 
were patrons, and planned to publish Le Moyne's account and drawings. Probably 
through the good offices of Hakluyt he changed his plan and agreed to publish 
Virginia first. The reprint of, Harriot's text was illustrated by a complete set 
of drawings provided by White, with captions by Harriot (in the English edition, 
allegedly by Hakluyt). The result was the first volume of De Bry's America, 
published at Frankfurt in 1590 in a four-language edition. For the first time 
Europeans could see what life in North America was really like. Raleigh's Virginia 
became a chapter of world history. 

Raleigh's World 


The images created were so powerful that they became the stereotype of the 
Indian way of life. The villages of Secoton and Pomeioc in what is now North 
Carolina reappear on maps of America until as late as 1719, migrating west 
as far as Texas. 36 William Strachey used De Bry's engravings to illustrate his 
manuscript account of the new Virginia colony, 1610-12. He also showed five 
pictures of Picts, the early inhabitants of Great Britain, and ventured some 
enlightened ethnographical comments: 

AEcclesiae et Reipublicae 

Wild as they ar, accept them, so were wee: 

To make them civill, will our honnour be: 

And if good worcks, be the effects of Myndes 

Which like good Angells be, let our Designes 

As wee ar Angli, make us Angells too: 

No better worcke, can state, or church-man doe. 

W St. 37 

Title page of Thomas Harriot's A briefe and true report, with Theodor de Bry's engraved portrait 
facing. In de Bry, America, part 1 (Frankfurt am Main: 1590). By permission of the British Library. 

28 Raleigh and Quinn 

Raleigh's Virginia had pointed the way to England's successful settlement of 
a colony in North America. "I shall yet live to see it an English nation," Raleigh 
had written prophetically in a letter to Sir Robert Cecil on 21 August 1602. 
From the Tower he received reports of the Jamestown settlement. 

The first Virginia colony, whatever its fate, enabled England to establish her 
role as a New World power. Elizabeth was now Queen of Virginia, as depicted 
in the print of the Queen between two columns, perhaps by Crispin van de 
Passe, commissioned and published by John Woutneel, 1596. 38 "No richer crown 
in the World" was the motto of Nicholas Hilliard's gold medal, c.1590, 39 countering 
Philip IPs posturing as Hercules, 40 and as commanding the wealth of the Indies. 41 

When Emery Molyneux of Lambeth made the first English terrestrial globe 
for publication in 1592, he depicted the royal arms surmounting a dedication 
to the Queen encompassing the North American continent and designed as 
propaganda for England's imperial destiny in the continent. 42 Evidence from 
the State Archives in Florence has confirmed this interpretation. Petruccio Ubal- 
dini, writing to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, reports Molyneux's presentation 
of the first terrestrial globe to the Queen at Greenwich in July 1591: "The Dedica- 
tion to the Queen has to be printed with the royal arms and its wording sug- 
gests that he gave her the globe to let her see at a glance how much of the 
seas she could control by means of her naval forces. This is a fact well worth 
knowing." 43 

Elizabeth made play of the symbolism of empire when at a second presentation 
she received the terrestrial globe with its celestial partner at William Sanderson's 
house at Newington-Butts. She commented "The whole earth, a present for 
a Prince, but with the Spanish King's leave"— an ironic reference to King Philip's 
claim to the whole world, and to his motto, "Non sufficit orbis." 44 A silver 
medal of c.1585 depicts the motto. 45 The globe was in fact the first geographical 
work to document the exact site of the Roanoke colony. De Bry's map, like 
White's, had not marked any degrees of latitude and longitude, presumably to 
protect the colony from possible discovery and attack by Spain. 

Thus England's world expanded across the Atlantic. At the very same time 
Raleigh's world had contracted to the confines of the Tower where he conferred 
(in the years from 1603 to 1612) with Prince Henry, and with his fellow prisoner 
Henry Percy, the ninth Earl of Northumberland, and the Earl's attendants, who 
included Harriot. To recover his fortunes after his first disgrace of 1592 Raleigh 
had already been on one overseas adventure to Guiana in search of the lost Inca 
empire of El Dorado, 1595, and had despatched a second in 1596. A last glimpse 
of him before his trial and downfall in 1603 is as captain of the guard in Elizabeth's 
funeral procession. An indication of his moods and pursuits during those years 
in the Tower is revealed in the autograph commonplace book, written between 
1604 and 1608, including historical and geographical notes for The History of 
the World, a list of the books in his library, and a Cynthia poem, one of three 
surviving autographed poems. 46 

Raleigh's World 





Ueigh's "Virginia" and surrounding region on Emery Molyneux's terrestrial globe, first pub- 
bed in 1592, revised by Jodocus Hondius in 1603. By permission of the Honourable Society of the 
Male Temple. 

The final disastrous expedition to Guiana, 1617-18, culminating in his execution 
on 19 October 1618, is one of the dark episodes of English history. But just 
as Drake legends flourished, so did Raleigh's exceed the bounds of ordinary mortals. 
John Bricknell writes of the Indians in The Natural History of North Carolina 
(Dublin: 1737): 

I hope it will not be unpleasing to the Reader to insert here a pleasant 
Story which still prevails amongst them; and is attended by the most 
substantial and credible Planters of this place, which is, "That the Ship 
that brought the first Colonists, does often appear to them (in Albemarle 
Sound, near Roanoke) under Sail, in a most gallant Posture," which they 
call Sir Walter Raliegh's Ship. 

The author of A Short Account of the First Settlement of the Provinces of Virginia, 
(London: 1735), records Grenville's expedition of 1585, and Drake's rescue, and 
then proceeds to describe Sir Walter's visit in person: "Sir Walter got his ship 
ready first ... he set sail by himself," two weeks in advance of Grenville. 


Raleigh and Quinn 

The Sea of I hina 
and the Indies. 

John Farrer's map of Virginia, showing the Pacific ten days' march away, with a por- 
trait of Drake as the discoverer of "Nova Albion." In Edward Bland, The Discovery 
of New Brittaine (London: 1651). By permission of the British Library. 

The spirit of Sir Walter lives on in North Carolina, despite the remark of 
James A. Froude in 1895, "of Raleigh, there remains nothing in Virginia [i.e., 
North Carolina] save the name of the city which is called after him." 47 More 
to the point is the comment of Richard Biddle (1831), followed by Alexander 
von Humboldt, that but for Cabot and Raleigh the English language might 
not be spoken by North Americans today. Raleigh paved the way for the establish- 
ment of Anglo-America in the New World. 

Raleigh's World 31 


*In introducing Helen Wallis, Lindsay C. Warren, Jr., said: "Our first speaker is no stranger 
to those of us who have been involved in the planning of events associated with the commemora- 
tion. Dr. Helen Wallis, who until recently served as the map librarian of the British Library 
in London, was intimately involved in one of our major projects, the historical exhibition entitled 
"Raleigh and Roanoke," which initially opened in London in April 1984 then moved to a four- 
month stand at our own North Carolina Museum of History in March 1985. 

"Dr. Wallis was educated at Oxford University, where she received her master's degree and 
doctorate in philosophy. From 1951 to 1967, she was the assistant keeper in the Map Room 
of the British Museum. She became deputy keeper in charge of the Map Room in 1967 and 
served in that capacity until 1973 when the library departments of the British Museum were 
transferred to the then newly founded British Library. Following the transfer, she became the 
map librarian of the British Library, serving in that capacity until she retired in 1986. Her 
vitae says that since 15 November she has served as a "voluntary assistant" in the Map Library. 
I suspect that means that she is frequently called upon by her former colleagues who value 
her knowledge and years of experience at that institution. During Dr. Wallis's tenure with 
the British Library, she was involved in the organization of a number of exhibitions, including 
one in 1975 on "The American War of Independence," which was transferred to the Museum 
of Our National Heritage in Lexington, Massachusetts, in 1976. She was also responsible for 
the organization of an exhibition entitled "The Famous Voyage of Sir Francis Drake," which 
was later shown in Lexington and the Oakland Museum in California. We know her most 
fondly for the energy and leadership she exhibited with "Raleigh and Roanoke," which came 
to Raleigh in 1985. I think I am correct in saying that it was the most successful historical 
exhibition ever shown at the North Carolina Museum of History. 

"Dr. Wallis has contributed to scholarship through her books and articles, many of which 
are related to Drake and Raleigh. She is a member of various scholarly organizations, currently 
serving as president of the International Map Collectors Society. In March 1985 she was awarded 
an honorary degree by our own Davidson College; and in 1986, she was singularly honored 
by an award of the "Order of the British Empire" (O.B.E.) as part of the Queen's Birthday 
Honors of that year. We are very pleased to have Dr. Wallis back in North Carolina, and I 
take pleasure in introducing her to this group which is gathered to hear her paper on 'Raleigh's 
World.' " 

George Carleton, A Thankfull Remembrance of Gods Mercy (London: 1624), A. 4. 2-3. 

2 D.M. Palliser, The Age of Elizabeth. England under the Later Tudors 1547-1603 (London: 1983), 
pp. 36-7, 379. 

3 B.L. (British Library) Cotton MS. Tiberius D.IX. Samuel Purchas, Hakluytus Posthumas or 
Purchas His Pilgrimes (London: 1625), II.vii.1122. Purchas prints the translation. Further comments 
in Armando Cortesao and Avelino Teixeira da Mota, Portugaliae Monumenta Cartographica (Lisbon: 
1960), 1.139-41. 

4 Walter Raleigh, The History of the World (London: 1614), 1.539. 

5 S.E. Morison, Admiral of the Ocean Sea (Boston; 1942), 1.137. 

6 B.L. Add. M.S. 17647.A. 

7 B.L. Add. MS. 5415.A.ff.9v-10. 

8 Letter of Richard Hakluyt to Raleigh, Paris, December 30, 1586; the only surviving letter 
to Raleigh on the Roanoke voyages. Bodleian Library, Oxford, Clarendon MSS Addenda 307, 
ff.2v-3r. See Helen Wallis, Raleigh & Roanoke. The First English Colony in America, 1584-1590 
(Raleigh: 1985), pp. 23, 45, nos. 4, 33. 

9 Andre Homem's map is preserved in the Departement de Cartes et Plans, Bibliotheque Nationale, 

10 Helen Wallis, Raleigh & Roanoke, pp. 23, 45. 

U B.L. Harley M.S. 1419A.ff.l86-188v. 

12 D.B. Quinn, The Voyages and Colonising Enterprises of Sir Humphrey Gilbert (London: 1940), 

32 Raleigh and Quinn 

1.147; Richard Hakluyt, Principall navigations (London: 1589), 2.511. 

13 Samuel Purchas, Purchas His Pilgrimes, III.iii.461; Maclehose edition (Glasgow: 1906), XIII.3. 

14 Raleigh, The History of the World, 1.547. 

15 D.B. Quinn et al, New American World (New York: 1979), III.267. 

16 B.L. Cotton MS. Augustus I.I.I. See Wallis, Raleigh & Roanoke, p. 34. 

17 Christopher Carleill, A breef and sommarie discourse upon the extended Voyage to the hethermoste 
partes of America (London: 1583). 

18 Helen Wallis, "Some New Light on Early Maps of North America, 1490-1560," in C. 
Koeman (ed.), Land-und Seekarten im Mittelalter und in derfriihen Neuzeit, Wolfenbiitteler Forschun- 
gen, Bd7 (Munchen: 1980), pp. 101-2. 

19 Edmond Howes, The Annales, or Generall Chronicle of England begun first by maister Iohn 
Stowe and . . . continued and augmented . . . (London: 1615), p. 807. 

20 Helen Wallis, The Voyage of Sir Francis Drake mapped in silver and gold (Berkeley: 1979), 
pp. 19-21; and "The Cartography of Drake's Voyage," in Norman J.W. Thrower (ed.), Sir Francis 
Drake and the Famous Voyage, 1577-1580 (Berkeley: 1984), pp. 121-63. 

21 [Daniel Defoe], A New Voyage round the World (London: 1725), pp. 16-17. 

22 Helen Wallis, "English Enterprise in the Region of the Strait of Magellan," in John Parker 
(ed.), Merchants & Scholars (Minneapolis: 1965), pp. 196-97, 217. 

23 01iver Lawson Dick (ed.), Aubrey's Brief Lives (London: 1950), p. 260. 

24 B.L. Cotton Roll XIII.48. 

25 B.L. Cotton MS. Augustus I.i.l. See Wallis, Raleigh & Roanoke, p. 34. 

26 British Museum, Department of Medieval & Lat. Antiquities, 1966, 10-11, 1. See Wallis, 
Raleigh & Roanoke, pp. 29, 33. 

27 New York Public Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division; Astor, Lenox and Tilden 
Foundations. See Wallis, Raleigh & Roanoke, p. 41. 

28 E.G.R. Taylor, The Original Writings & Correspondence of the Two Richard Hakluyts (London: 
1935), 2.366-67. Translation from the Latin by F.C. Francis. 

29 Richard Hakluyt, The principall navigations voiages and discoveries of the English nation (London: 
1589), sig.*4r. 

30 Cortesao and Teixeira da Mota, 2.130. Quinn, (1940), 1.187. 

31 D.B. Quinn, Set Fair for Roanoke (Chapel Hill and London: 1985), p. 51. 

32 William P. Cumming has traced the depiction of the coast on maps in a study now being 
printed by the University of North Carolina Press. 

"Public Record Office, London, MPG.584. 

34 Theodor de Bry, America, part 1 (Frankfurt am Main: 1590), pi. II. 

35 White's drawings are preserved in one set now in the Department of Prints and Drawings 
of the British Museum, 1906-9-1. Another set copied from White's originals and discovered 
in Ireland by Sir Hans Sloane is also in the Department of Prints and Drawings, Sloane MS.5270 
(P&D 199.a.3). Unable at first to secure this set, Sloane had them copied, and these are in 
the Department of Manuscripts of the British Library. 

36 Carte de la Nouvelle France, from Atlas Historique, by Henri Abraham Chatelain (Amsterdam: 

37 William Strachey, "The first Booke of the historie of Trauaile into Virginia Britannia," 
1610-1612, B.L. Sloane MS. 1622,f.4v. 

38 B.M. Prints and Drawings, S 114-220. See A.M. Hind, Engraving in England in the Sixteenth 
& Seventeenth Centuries. Pt. 1. The Tudor Period (Cambridge: 1952), p. 285, pi. 144. 

39 B.M. Department of Coins & Medals, 1860-12-18-1. 

40 Reverse of struck silver medal, 1557. B.M. Department of Coins & Medals, George III, 
Flemish & Dutch 311. 

41 Reverse of silver medal of c.1560. B.M. Department of Coins and Medals, M.1994. 

42 The only known example of the first edition terrestrial globe, 1592, is at Petworth House. 

Raleigh's World 33 

A revised edition of 1603 with its celestial partner is at the London Inn of Court, the Middle 

43 Archivo di Stato, Florence, Fonde Mediceo, 828, c.477. Ubaldini also reports that Molyneux 
had sailed with Drake. I am indebed to Anna Maria Crino for this new source on the Molyneux 
Globes. See Helen Wallis with Anna Maria Crino, "New Researches on the Molyneux Globes," 
in Der Globusfreund, no. 35-37 (Vienna: 1987), pp. 11-20. 

44 Sir William Sanderson, An answer to a scurrilous pamphlet (London: 1656), sig. A3v. 

45 British Museum, Department of Coins and Medals, George III, Spanish Medals 2. 

46 B.L. Add. MS. 57555. Previously in the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart. Phillipps 
MS. 6339. See also Pierre Lefranc, Sir Walter Raleigh ecrivian, I'oeuvre et les idees (Paris: 1968); 
Sir Walter Oakeshott, The Queen and the Poet (London: 1970), pp. 17-20. 

47 James A. Froude, English Seamen in the Sixteenth Century (London: 1895), p. 156. See also 
H. G. Jones, "The Americanization of Raleigh," in Joyce Youings (ed.), Raleigh in Exeter: Privateer- 
ing and Colonisation in the Reign of Elizabeth I (Exeter: 1985), p. 73. 

Raleigh's England 

Joan Thirsk* 

My first title for this paper was "The Adventurous Economy of Elizabethan 
England," and when it was neatened and shortened to match the titles of the 
other papers, I made no demur. Only later did I realize that it had been turned 
into a different and more difficult subject. I intended to consider the quite remarkable 
range and boldness of the new ventures that were launched in Elizabethan England. 
They set a background against which one can better understand Raleigh's overseas 
explorations. He was but one of a multitude of people engaged in audacious 
enterprises. While some sailed across the oceans, others experimented with all 
kinds of new industrial and agricultural possibilities at home. Bold initiatives were 
taken and many did not immediately turn out well. But the long-term hopes 
went along with a great flexibility, so that people seized opportunities that presented 
in one year, without brooding too much if they abruptly ceased in the next; 
they turned to something else. And some years later a failed project might well 
be taken up by others, and succeed. Most of us are out of tune with this world 
of short-term calculations, but it has to be placed in the background of sixteenth- 
century life and is, doubtless, inseparable from those other facts of life— short 
lives and sudden deaths. 

The title that has now been given to my paper, "Raleigh's England," has set 
me thinking along different lines, obliging me to consider England as Raleigh 
perceived it. His personality is not easily fathomed: an ambitious, audacious, 
sometimes rough adventurer who was at the same time a reflective, introspective 
poet is not a very common combination. For me A. L. Rowse has come nearest 
to explaining the enigma, 1 and I would not compete with him by offering an 
alternative view. But I also see Raleigh as a typical younger son of the gentry 
class, in some ways quite remarkably conformist with the rest. I therefore propose 
to discuss some features of England in the period 1560-1620, as the gentry perceived 
and exploited them, which may further illuminate the aspirations and career of 
one of its distinguished sons. 

Raleigh shared the circumstances of his time with a multitude of other young 
men of gentle families born in the middle sixteenth century. As Sir Robert 
Naunton, James I's Secretary of State, put it when writing a thumbnail sketch 
of "Rawleigh," he was "well descended, and of good alliance, but poor in his 
beginnings." 2 A. L. Rowse describes his ancestry more exactly, noticing that in 
Henry IPs reign a Raleigh was sheriff of Devon and that Sir William Raleigh 
was a judge of the King's Bench. 3 But Walter was the fifth son of a third marriage; 
he had little prospect of inheriting land from his father. 4 


Raleigh and Quinn 

Joan Thirsk, a specialist on Britain's consumer society, spoke on "Raleigh's England.'' 

Complaints of the plight of younger sons in England became noticeably strident 
in the course of the century or so after 1540. Some of these young men hung 
around the houses of their elder brothers, idle, discontented, and deeply resentful 
of their dependence on their brother's grace and favour. Devon gentlemen may 
not so readily have submitted to the tyranny of primogeniture as did gentry in 
some other counties, but the Raleigh family's circumstances could not offer much 
to a fifth son. 5 A gentleman in a later generation who found his fortune in Virginia 
designated "learning" as the portion he purposefully allocated to his younger son. 6 
That is what Walter Raleigh also received. 

With such an endowment multitudes of younger sons had to carve out a career 
by their own efforts. But in Raleigh's lifetime, each generation found itself obliged 
to become more and more ingenious or more and more aggressive, since the 
number of such young gentlemen, all aspiring to remain in the class into which 
they were born, was rising. All expected to set up a landed estate for themselves, 
sooner or later, and the consequences of this striving are dramatically portrayed 
in the increasing numbers of gentry residing in individual counties between 1550 

Raleigh's England 37 

and 1620. Michael Havinden of Exeter University (in an unpublished paper) has 
counted them in the county of Somerset, next door to Devon. In 1569, 150 gentry 
lived in the county; in 1623, 352. In other words, the numbers of resident gentry 
more than doubled in sixty years. 

This fact has important implications for an agrarian historian, not all of which 
are relevant here. But it gives us some sense of the striving for place in Raleigh's 
lifetime and the effort involved. It explains the deep interest of the gentry in 
building houses, laying out gardens and orchards, beautifying the landscape and 
improving the cultivation of farm land. Many of them were creating gentlemen's 
dwellings and estates where none had been before. I shall return to this theme 
again in closer connection with Raleigh. At this point enough has been said to 
indicate the challenges that life presented to younger sons. To carve out a place 
in gentry society required determined effort in competition with many others, 
and not all succeeded. Far from ending their days as country gentlemen, some 
ended their lives as grocers or cheesemongers, many remained landless, many did 
not marry. Family trees frequently omit younger sons altogether. 

Another perception of the sixteenth-century world that was borne in on young 
gentlemen's sons concerns the conventional stages of a moderately successful career. 
It could be a monotonous routine with an almost standard pattern; indeed that 
routine was, I suspect, a boring commonplace of the time, though we only dimly 
discern it. The familiar path is laid out for us in the life of George Throckmorton 
in a previous generation. He was the grandfather of Raleigh's wife. The early 
course of his career was exactly the one taken at the outset by Raleigh himself. 
George Throckmorton's father, like Raleigh's own father, achieved, in Rowse's 
words, "nothing much except a good match" (in this case, with a daughter of 
a lord mayor of London) "and a mass of children." "We find him," continues 
Rowse, "serving quietly, as we should expect, in the commission of the peace 
for Warwickshire." 7 George, his eldest son, found his place at Henry VIII's Court 
as esquire of the body. So did Raleigh at Elizabeth's Court. (It was a piece of 
fortune for young gentlemen that Henry VIII increased the numbers of his 
bodyguard from 126 at the beginning of his reign to 200 by 1510. Later he even 
increased it to 600, but then the cost became alarming, and numbers were reduced.) 
George Throckmorton duly received, as Rowse puts it, "the rewards of attendance 
upon the king, in beneficial leases for long periods without fine, in stewardships, 
keeperships and such advantageous grants." 8 His career was not without setbacks, 
since he opposed Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon, but he made amends 
and duly became a knight of the shire for Warwickshire, and later on sheriff 
of Warwickshire and Leicestershire. 

Such a career satisfied many. But Raleigh plainly inherited the fiery qualities 
and a striving energy from his mother. (One wishes that more were known of 
Katharine Champernowne, remarkable mother of five sons of ability, Sir Humphrey 
Gilbert, Sir John Gilbert, Adrian Gilbert, Sir Carew Raleigh, and Sir Walter 

38 Raleigh and Quinn 

Raleigh. Rowse recognizes the contribution from the mother to all this, but does 
not allow her a place in his index. 9 ) For Walter Raleigh careers like that of George 
Throckmorton were object lessons. To do better than that, it was necessary to 
break away from the well-trodden path and arrest the attention of an influential 
patron, best of all the Queeen herself. In this, Raleigh succeeded. His proposals 
for Ireland, after he had served there, drew him before the Privy Council and 
attracted the Queen's notice. Sir Robert Naunton counts this as the critical moment 
in Raleigh's rise to favour. "From thence, he came to be known, and to have 
access to the queen and to the lords," he wrote. 10 But I find the story of the 
cape thrown on the ground for the Queen to walk over equally credible as a 
deliberate act to draw attention, in a highly competitive world where Raleigh 
knew himself to be but one young man among hundreds of others. The story 
was recorded only by Thomas Fuller, writing later from hearsay. The biographer 
of Thomas Hariot, Muriel Rukeyser, tells us that it was the Spanish custom to 
use cloaks in this way. We should also note that while the cloak was made of 
new plush, we are not told of any expensive ornamentation. The place was "plashy," 
but the queen "trod gently" on it. We all know that mud when dry brushes 
off easily. I have heard the story dismissed as apocryphal. I would not be so sure. 11 
In advancing their fortunes, sixteenth-century gentlemen from Henry VIII's 
reign onward had one valuable asset of great significance, not possessed by earlier 
generations — this was their humanist education. It put them in touch with a 
multitude of fresh and original ideas which clearly inspired them to new and 
adventurous action. The newly printed books that were put before them included 
the great classical authors, books imported from the continent of Europe on every 
conceivable subject, English translations of foreign books, and by the 1560s works 
by English authors who took pride in writing in English rather than in Latin, 
so that they put no barriers between themselves and their readers. Young gentlemen 
were presented in these books with a whole spectrum of possible interests, ranging 
from the history of nations to astrology, to botany, to navigation. And since 
humanism called men to action in accordance with their intellectual convictions, 
gentlemen were urged to be doers as well as readers. Each individual would, of 
course, choose a different set of interests, but the books were very precise guides 
to action, and they were often followed to the letter. Historians have not yet 
squarely faced that fact, though they have long recognised the practical influence 
of books in limited areas, for example, in architectural design. I perceive it strongly 
at work in the practice of agriculture. 12 I wait to see the gentry's literal imitation 
of bookish advice recognized over a much broader range of activities. It should 
not be so difficult for us to comprehend and accept that fact, for do we not 
all similarly turn to books for instruction in any new pursuit? It meant that 
well-read young gentlemen carried a fairly standard collection of modish ideas 
and interests in their mental baggage, ready to bring them into play as circumstances 
permitted and as their personal interests led them. 

Raleigh's England 39 

In Henry VIII's reign, and continuing through the first half of Elizabeth's, 
a humanist education also went hand in hand with a political doctrine that cleverly 
drew young gentlemen into the implementation of government policy. It is true 
that sometimes this caused them more financial loss than profit. But the gentry's 
initial efforts to carry out the government's desires often made a positive contribution 
by launching projects that subsequently were taken up by others with long-term 
success. Theirs was the responsibility for initiating in their own localities schemes 
that would serve the nation's needs. For example, when Henry VIII set up in 
the royal household a corps of gentlemen pensioners —young men whose duties 
were to ride on ceremonial and military occasions with the king, they were also 
exhorted to, and did, set up horse studs at home to breed better horses. When 
the best modes of feeding, housing, and training fine horses were being animatedly 
discussed, in Elizabeth's reign, influential personages at Court encouraged some 
of these aspiring young gentlemen pensioners to improve and use their language 
skills to translate foreign books on the subject into English. Thus Federico Grisone's 
Italian work on The Art of Riding was translated and adapted circa 1560. 13 Nor 
was horsemanship the only fashionable topic. One may speak of a "translation 
movement" starting in Henry VIII's reign and growing fast in the first ten years 
of Elizabeth's reign. 14 Counting the classics alone, thirty-six books were translated 
in Henry VIII's reign, and thirty-nine in the first decade of Elizabeth's reign. 
The translators were young men, urged on by noblemen and influential politicians 
to serve their country in this way. 15 Linguistic skills and a wide intellectual curiosity 
were taken for granted. 

Thus young men were given the chance to serve the commonwealth in ways 
that made greater demands upon them than the strict duties of their office at 
court dictated or required. Barnaby Googe is one such example, a Gentleman 
Pensioner in Elizabeth's reign who served in Ireland, and while there translated 
a comprehensive book of husbandry that had only recently appeared (in Latin) 
from the pen of a German diplomat. It became a standard agricultural textbook 
in England for one hundred years. Googe, moreover, had already translated the 
work of an Italian poet and some Latin verse and later translated the proverbs 
of a Spaniard. 16 

Young gentlemen were offered many challenges that gave them the chance 
to show their talents and exercise them for constructive ends. There is, therefore, 
a wealth of meaning in Sir Robert Naunton's comment on Raleigh that he, being 
"the youngest brother, and the house diminished in its patrimony, he foresaw 
his own destiny that he was the first to roll through want and disability to subsist, 
before he came to a repose." Naunton continued, he was "the first that exposed 
himself into the land service of Ireland." Moreover, "he took pains," he was not 
"pulled up by chance," he "had the adjunct of some general learning, which, 
by diligence, he enforced to a great augmentation and perfection; for he was an 
indefatigable reader, whether by sea or land. . . ." 17 

40 Raleigh and Quinn 

In short, here was an ambitious young gentleman who throve in the exhilarating 
atmosphere of the first two decades of Elizabeth's reign. The aspirations of educated 
humanists, both men and women, that had wrought such impressive effects in 
Henry VIII's reign, were still upheld, inspiring belief in one's ability to contribute 
to the commonweal. Raleigh was just in time— but only just— to catch that mood 
in the early stages of his career. 

Other more mundane features in the background of these expansive decades 
between the 1560s and 1580s built up confidence in the future. Elizabeth's reform 
of the coinage in 1560-62 helped to stabilize prices after the soaring inflation 
of the 1540s. 18 More reassuring still was the long period of plentiful grain supplies, 
beginning in 1558 and lasting until 1585. Shortages were so brief and local that 
by 1585 some complacency had crept in. It prompted William Cecil to condemn 
the wicked use of wheat to make starch for stiffening ruffs. For the past twenty- 
seven years, he said, Englishmen had enjoyed peace and plenty of grain, but they 
should not assume that shortages would never come again. 19 

Thus one may describe the first two decades of Elizabeth's reign as a new 
start in many different senses. It saw the effective beginnings of many audacious 
undertakings, apart from those exploring territorities overseas. Industrial enterprises 
were of lasting importance, encouraged by the use of that ingenious device, 
the grant of a patent of monopoly. This gave the recipients the sole right of 
manufacturing, mining, engineering, or otherwise using processes of which they 
were the first inventors. By the end of the century monopolies stood for everything 
that was unjust in the government's meddlings with the economy, but the original 
idea was innocent of corruption. It was a device borrowed from Continental 
countries who had been using it since the 1460s. By granting inventors the 
sole rights to use their own new processes, the Crown gave them hope of recover- 
ing their due reward for enterprise and investment. This European idea was 
first adopted in England in 1552, in a patent for making glass, and secondly 
in 1554 in a patent to search for and work metals in England. 20 The 1560s 
saw the launching of a large number of highly original industrial ventures. In 
contrast with the two patents granted in the 1550s, twenty-two were issued 
in the 1560s. 21 

Through the grant of monopolies was started the making of hard white soap 
of Spanish type, of saltpetre, of ovens and furnaces that were economical of 
fuel, of sulphur, of oil, Spanish leather, white salt, drainage engines, and a whole 
miscellany of other goods. In all but four cases in the 1560s the patentees were 
foreigners; and some of the most influential men in government, William Cecil, 
above all, made strenuous efforts to welcome foreigners and introduce them 
into high places. Privy Councillors assisted large towns under their influence 
to recruit foreign craftsmen who might, and in several cases did, rescue their 
economies from decay. William Cecil, living just outside Stamford in Lincolnshire, 
brought foreigners with the required skills into that town. 

Raleigh's England 41 

This kind of individual endeavour in the 1560s was then carried forward under 
fresh momentum in the 1570s when religious refugees streamed into England, 
bringing their skills with them and setting up in business without waiting for 
any patent of monopoly. The patent system had set wheels in motion that were 
thereafter propelled by other sources of energy. Some twenty-three patents were 
granted between 1561 and 1570 but only twelve were issued between 1571 and 
1580. 22 This did not mean that economic enterprise was fading; only that the 
methods by which it was launched were changing. It was an encouraging sign 
in some respects, for Englishmen in the 1570s were now in the majority as 
recipients of patents (seven Englishmen against four foreigners). In certain cases 
it meant that foreign inventors who needed financial backing had found English 
nobility and gentry willing to take financial shares. 23 

The financial arrangements of such enterprises, moreover, were being 
manipulated to spread the risks more widely. This may, indeed, contribute towards 
the answer to John Shirley's question concerning "Sir Walter Raleigh's Guiana 
Finances." How, he asked, could "a Devonshire sailor of a good family but no 
apparent wealth . . . equip, outfit, provision and man expedition after 
expedition ... ?" About £60,000 was needed for Raleigh's Guiana expedition 
alone. 24 In enterprises involving the planting of new and potentially profitable 
agricultural crops, it was the practice to divide the shares that named large sums 
into much smaller units, thereby spreading the burden between many more kin 
and friends. Such practices do not emerge in the official accounts and are only 
accidentally brought to light, usually in the course of subsequent disputes. For 
example, when George Bedford held a one-third share in a madder-growing 
project in Kent in the 1620s, he did not expect to find all the money for that 
third from his own pocket. He expected to break down his share of the 
responsibility into many smaller shares to which his family and friends subscribed. 
A similar subdivision of one share into eight parts was contrived in a tobacco- 
growing project in Gloucestershire circa 1619, which at first appearance looked 
like a partnership of only three people. 25 

Financial manoeuvres with regard to patents of monopoly, and partnerships 
formed outside the patent system, enabled more and more gentry to contribute, 
though in a less active way than the foreign innovators, to the diversification 
of the economy. In the second half of Elizabeth's reign, however, this development 
led the gentry in entirely the wrong direction. Patents of monopoly were degraded 
into mere profit-seeking devices, requiring no effort from the monopolist beyond 
the collection of a rent. Raleigh's career mirrors the change of mood exactly, 
for what Professor David Quinn calls the spring and summer of his career from 
May 1583 to July 1592 were launched by the grants to him of two of those 
monopoly patents which brought the whole system into disrepute. "The 
impoverished gentleman," he writes, "became the wealthy and magnificent cour- 
tier," 26 because Raleigh received the monopoly right to issue licenses for the 

42 Raleigh and Quinn 

sale of wines, which brought him £700-800 p.a. at least. (A. L. Rowse says 
£1100 p.a., an income larger than that of some peers.) Then in March 1584 
he secured the monopoly of licenses to export cloth free of statutory restrictions. 27 

The healthy economic vigour of the kingdom in Elizabeth's early years, to 
which the gentry had made a positive contribution, was now sapped as abuses 
crept in. At the same time, confidence was checked from another direction. 
A bad harvest in 1585 was followed by two more in 1586 and 1587. 28 The 
year 1586 also brought a crisis in the cloth trade with the Low Countries and 
an outburst of violence against foreigners. 29 Thus, while Raleigh's economic 
circumstances were improving, for the nation as a whole economic trends in 
the 1580s were unhealthy and augured ill for the future. Foreigners, who had 
done much to diversify and strengthen England's industrial and agricultural base 
in the previous twenty years, were reviled and attacked, and Raleigh himself 
joined in the chorus. When he lost his influential place close to the Queen 
and transferred his energies into speeches in the House of Commons, he expressed 
a deep antipathy to foreigners. His words were incisive and left no room for 
another opinion. "Whereas it is presented that for strangers it is against charity, 
against honour, against profit to expel them; in my opinion it is no matter 
of charity to relieve them. ... I see no reason that so much respect should be 
given unto them." 30 Such sentiments mingled only too readily with the jealousies 
and feudings at Court and the sense of disenchantment that hung over the last 
two decades of Elizabeth's reign. The depressing years of the 1590s were depressed 
further by yet another sequence of disastrous harvests and epidemics which 
historians now mark as a watershed throughout western Europe. Population 
growth slowed down for a century and a half, and another economic era with 
different problems opened out after 1600. 31 

The gentleman's portmanteau of intellectual interests and ideas, to which I 
referred earlier, contained more than enough variety to divert gentlemen as the 
mood of the age changed, and particularly if they tired of the courtly round. 
Among other challenges, the gentry had been invited to set themselves up in 
the country, and books had given them practical instructions and intellectual 
reasons for enjoying that life. Raleigh turned his thoughts in this direction in 
the 1580s. He lived in Durham House in the Strand in London but conceived 
the idea of returning to his childhood home at Hayes Farm in Devon and wrote 
to the owner asking him to sell the house to him. 32 He was cheated of his 
hopes and had to wait until 1592 before he achieved his desire for a different 
and grander estate at Sherborne, Dorset, prised by the queen for him from a 
reluctant bishop of Salisbury. It proved to be the source to Raleigh of endless 
troubles, disagreements with the bishop, and with John Meere, the man whom 
he chose to manage the estate. 33 But for us special interest lies in the way, as 
soon as he acquired Sherborne, he followed the accepted routine prescribed by 
the books and by the fashions of the day— laying out orchards and gardens, 
bringing water to the site, and ultimately building a new house. 

Raleigh's England 43 

Earlier than this, however, we have evidence of Raleigh's interest and vigour 
bestowed in the same direction when setting up his plantation in Ireland. This 
is Professor Canny's territory, and I do not wish to transgress the boundaries 
laid between us. But the intellectual baggage of the gentry is my theme, and 
it was full of stimulating notions about land and its potential, which individuals 
carried all over England and some of them to Ireland as well. In this baggage 
were stored first and foremost readings from the classical writers like Cato, Varro, 
and Columella, to which practical experience was added, teaching gentlemen 
a highly professional attitude towards farming as a rewarding, honourable 
occupation, and inspiring high optimism in man's capacity to improve barren 
or neglected soils. Many young gentry, of course, had not the means to set 
up an estate unless they chose neglected land which was cheap. Thus they moved 
into pastoral country, fenlands, marshlands, and woodlands, where their houses 
were likely to be in hamlets, rather than villages. But in course of time they 
would gentrify that countryside, which had not been so tamed before. We see 
the transformation most clearly in the Arden forest of Warwickshire between 
the mid-sixteenth and mid-seventeenth century; also in the Lincolnshire fenlands, 
where by the 1650s some truly model farms had been set up. 34 Young men 
were helped by the fact that techniques for draining wet land were being improved, 
and many new crops were being introduced that were recommended for less fertile, 
or overcropped, arable. Sons of the gentry, therefore, became active rather than 
passive owners of land, while some went further still, chose farming as a career, 
specialized in some of its newest branches, such as hop-growing and fruit growing, 
and then wrote books that described their experience and encouraged their fellows 
to follow suit. 35 

Against this background of contemporary bookish knowledge and intellectual 
argument concerning the noble life of the countryman, the agrarian historian 
approaches the evidence of Raleigh's plantation in Ireland with certain expectations. 
Gentlemen were being urged to try new plants from Europe and overseas, 
especially on barren land. One or another crop, so the argument ran, might 
be just the one that would miraculously turn poor land to good account. 36 Such 
were the hopes lying behind the gentry's many trials with new plants in the 
sixteenth century. They make it wholly credible that potatoes were tried on 
Raleigh's estate in Youghal. He may not personally have been the one most 
responsible, but portions of his land were being taken up by many gentlemen 
and esquires, with the same intellectual baggage. Thomas Hariot, gentleman, 
was one of his tenants. He was an indefatigable investigator in many branches 
of knowledge. It is difficult to imagine that he was not interested in trying 
new plants. Thomas Hill, gentleman, was also a tenant. 37 Is that name of 
significance? A Thomas Hill of London was the author of the first book on 
gardening in 1563. 38 That Thomas Hill cannot have been the planter in Ireland 
since he died somewhere between 1572 and 1575. Thomas Hill is a comparatively 

44 Raleigh and Quinn 

common name, moreover. But it is worth considering the possibility that he 
had a son, Thomas Hill, who followed his father's interests and was the planter 
in Ireland. So often in this period sons had the same names as their fathers 
and followed the same careers, as did Walter Raleigh's son, Walter. 

Thomas Hill's book on gardening was thoroughly practical, using an unusually 
wide range of classical authors critically and adding the observations of his 
experienced gardening friends, as well as his own. It was concerned first and 
foremost with the most useful aspects of gardening, the sowing of vegetables 
and herbs for food and medicine. A man with such enthusiasms would certainly 
have been interested in new lands to cultivate. For other reasons too an association 
of the Hill family with Thomas Hariot is not an absurd guesss, knowing as 
we do how like-minded gentlemen formed cliques and turned up in each other's 
company in many different situations. Thomas Hill, writer on gardening, was 
a citizen of London, with a lively interest in many other branches of learning. 
He was a considerable translator of foreign works, translating A Brief Epitotny 
of the Whole Art of Physiognomy gathered out of Aristotle and Others (London, 1550?) 
and an Italian work on measures against plague. He practised astrology (i.e., 
astronomy); he translated a book on comets (published after his death, 1590?) 
and another on the stars (1599). He wrote a book on vulgar arithmetic. With 
such interests, coinciding so remarkably with those of Thomas Hariot, one may 
conceive of some acquaintance between Hariot and the Hill family, though Hariot 
arrived in London (1580) too late to meet the writer and translator, Thomas 
Hill. But Hill wrote so eloquently and sensibly on the planting of vegetable 
gardens, one in 1563, another in 1568, and a new edition with an additional 
section on the grafting of trees in 1574, we need not summarily dismiss the 
notion of a son alongside Hariot in Ireland who would not have neglected potatoes 
if they had come his way. 39 

The keen interest of many Londoners in gardening encourages the suggestion 
that one or another of the tenants on Raleigh's plantation, if not Raleigh himself, 
made a contribution to the planting of the potato in Ireland. 40 Professor Hawkes, 
the botanical authority on the potato, has described the conditions which were 
required for its success in Europe— notably twelve hours of daylight but not 
more, to enable it to develop tubers rather than stalk and leaf. These conditions 
from the very beginning were present in southwestern Ireland but not in England, 
for tubering could start in autumn when the days shorten to twelve hours while 
the temperature continues mild. In Ireland, potatoes could have given a reasonable 
yield from the outset. 41 Trials by any one of the gentlemen tenants on Raleigh's 
estate would then explain why soldiers of Cromwell's army arriving in Ireland 
in the 1650s saw potatoes growing in the fields. 42 Not until later, in the 1660s 
and 1670s, were they reintroduced into England, this time with more success. 
They appeared first in Lancashire, which had a regular trade with Ireland; and 
by that time potatoes in Ireland would have been selected and made suitable 
for the English climate. 43 

Raleigh's England 45 

Finally, another of the fairly common items in a gentleman's mental baggage, 
which Raleigh certainly carried and in which he found great solace in his latter 
days, was an interest in the distilling of essences from herbs. These essences 
were distilled principally as medicines, though they were also prized as perfumes 
and cooking ingredients. Hieronymus von Braunschweig had published in German 
in 1519 a treatise on distillation, in order to help the poor to cure their own 
illnesses. This had been translated into English in 1527, and more books on 
distillation followed thereafter. Among the early devotees of this particular interest 
were the Percys, earls of Northumberland. 44 Raleigh picked up the same 
enthusiasm, and when he was imprisoned in the Tower in 1604 distilling was 
one of his principal occupations. Indeed, he turned a former henhouse into a 
stillhouse. Then he was joined by Henry Percy, the ninth Earl, who was 
imprisoned for his alleged complicity in the Gunpowder Plot. He had inherited 
his family's consuming interest in the same subject — indeed, he was called the 
Wizard Earl — and produced the much-needed money to buy more equipment. 45 

It is anachronistic to turn these activities, as some historians have done, into 
a precocious interest in the science of chemistry. To contemporaries they were 
far more immediately important; the essences were the essential medicines 
that would save, and prolong, life. As Sir Thomas Smith, another enthusiastic 
distiller and Elizabeth's principal secretary between 1572 and 1576, expressed 
it, "I must needs make much of that [i.e., his stills] to the which, next God, 
I perceive I owe my life and health, as this winter." 46 Raleigh acquired such 
a high reputation for his medicinal cordials that, despite the charges of treason 
against him, James I countenanced the use of his special distillation to save the 
life of the dying Prince Henry, his heir. Unfortunately, it did not work the 
miraculous cure that was hoped for. But the cordial continued into the later 
seventeenth century to find an honoured place among the medicines in great 
men's households. 47 

If Raleigh had escaped the scaffold, A. L. Rowse is unable to imagine him 
enjoying the contentment of the country life. I have no such difficulty. Gentlemen 
knew the intellectual arguments in its favour, and these gave them plenty to 
do on their land. Circumstances at James's Court powerfully strengthened 
the desire to retire from Court. In the very year of Raleigh's death they were 
reiterated yet again. The lively debate on the Court versus the country life had 
been initiated in 1548 when the Spanish humanist and companion of the Emperor 
Charles V, Antonio de Guevara, published a Dispraise of the Life of a Courtier 
and a Commendation of the Life of the Labouring Man. Antonio de Guevara was 
one of the most widely read, authors in sixteenth-century Europe (though he 
is now totally neglected). This essay was translated into English in 1574, reissued 
in 1575 and 1579. Something was evidently happening in the seventies to awaken 
a yearning for the peace and contentment of country life. It is not difficult to 
guess at the reason for a reissue of the same debate in 1618. This time Nicholas 


Raleigh and Quinn 

The Country-man. 

The Courtier. 

The debate between courtiers and country gentlemen, discussed by the sixteenth- 
century Spanish humorist Antonio de Guevara in Dispraise of the Life of a Courtier. . . , 
appeared again in 1618 under the name of Nicholas Breton in The Court and Country. 

Breton claimed to be the author, giving his essay the title The Court and Country 
or a Brief Discourse Dialoguewise. 48 But Nicholas Breton's point of view was already 
stowed away in our gentlemen's baggage of current notions on the world around 
them. Antonio de Guevara's essay had been widely read. He had also written 
of "we courtiers much cumbered with tediousness," and of the many men at 
court "loitering, superfluous, idle, vagrant, and evil-tongued." Raleigh had already 
turned such thoughts into the far more melodious, gleaming, but bitter lines: 

Say to the court it glows 

and shines like rotten wood. 49 
That viewpoint won increasing support from gentlemen towards the end of 
James I's reign, as onlookers expressed with candour their distaste at the sight 
of their king— "this monster in excess"— and his Court. The chaplain to the 
Venetian ambassador in 1618, describing a series of banquets, comedies, and 
masques which he attended in London after Christmas that year, finished his 
account thus: "Should your lordships writhe on reading or listening to this 
document, you may imagine the weariness I feel in relating it." 50 Raleigh did 
not get the chance to retire to the country. But his brother-in-law, Arthur 
Throckmorton, wisely had long since done so and was kept fully occupied. 
We may learn more in the future about early seventeenth-century Court and 
country by identifying other gentry who followed the same path. In a later 
generation such men were responsible for some quite notable model farms. 51 

Raleigh's England 47 


*Joan Thirsk was introduced by Lindsay C. Warren as follows: "Our next speaker also comes 
to us from England, although she has been in North Carolina for several months as a fellow 
at the National Humanities Center in the Research Triangle Park. 

"Dr. Joan Thirsk was educated at the Camden School for Girls and Westfield College of 
the University of London, where she received her B.A. and doctoral degrees. She received her 
master's degree from Oxford. During World War II, she served as a subaltern in the Intelligence 
Corps. Until her retirement approximately three years ago, Dr. Thirsk was a reader in economic 
history at the University of Oxford and professorial fellow of St. Hilda's College at Oxford. 
She has specialized in English agricultural history, especially of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, 
and is general editor and substantial contributor to The Agrarian History of England and Wales, 
published by the Cambridge University Press. She has written much on rural industries and 
on the consumer society of the period 1500-1700. She is a fellow of the British Academy and 
has an honorary degree from Leicester University, where she was the senior research fellow 
from 1962 to 1965. Dr. Thirsk is also a member of the Royal Commission on the Historical 
Monuments of England and a foreign member of the American Philosophical Society. She now 
resides at Hadlow Castle, Tonbridge, Kent. Her vitae says that her recreations include gardening 
and sewing. I want to extend a special welcome to Dr. Thirsk at this time, and we look forward 
to hearing her paper on the subject of 'Raleigh's England.' " 

J A.L. Rowse, Sir Walter Raleigh, his Family and Private Life (New York: 1962). 

2 Sir Robert Naunton, Fragmenta Regalia. Memoirs of Elizabeth, Her Court and Favourites (London: 
1824), p. 103. 

3 Rowse, op. cit., p. 129. 

4 Norman Lloyd Williams, Sir Walter Raleigh (London: 1962), p. 1. 

5 For the pamphlet literature on younger sons, see Joan Thirsk, "Younger Sons in the Seventeenth 
Century," in idem, The Rural Economy of England. Collected Essays (London: 1984), pp. 335-57, 
especially pp. 338, 351. 

6 Louis B. Wright, "The 'Gentleman's Library' in Early Virginia: The Literary Interests of 
the First Carters," Huntington Library Quarterly, I (1937-8): 19. 

7 Rowse, op. cit., p. 2. 

8 Ibid., pp. 2-9. The King's bodyguard was first permanently established in Henry VII's reign. 
Col. Sir Reginald Hennell, The History of the King's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (London: 
1904), pp. 12, 23-5, 60, 78. 

9 Rowse, op cit., p. 130. 

10 Naunton, op cit., p. 109. 

"Williams, op. cit., p. 46; Muriel Rukeyser, The Traces of Thomas Hariot (New York: n.d. 
but 1971), p. 67. The author also says of the episode "it is true to his nature. ... It is in character 
for Ralegh." On Raleigh's "stage play world," see also Stephen J. Greenblatt, Sir Walter Raleigh. 
The Renaissance Man and His Roles (New Haven: 1973), p. 22. 

12 I developed this theme in my Neale lecture at University College London, in 1983, to be 
published in Alternative Agriculture. A Seventeenth-Century Perspective on Past and Present. Some 
illustrative examples of bookish advice in practice are given in Thirsk, "Plough and Pen," in 
T.H. Aston et alii, Social Relations and Ideas: Essays in Honour ofR.H. Hilton (Cambridge: 1983), 
pp. 303-306. For the care given to the reading of books on architectural design, see the evidence 
of Henry Percy's annotated text of Vitruvius, in G.R. Batho, "The Library of the 'Wizard' 
Earl: Henry Percy, ninth Earl of Northumberland (1564-1632)," The Library, 15 (1960): 255. 

13 Joan Thirsk, "Horses in Early Modern England: For Service, for Pleasure, for Power," in 
idem, The Rural Economy of England, op. cit., pp. 385-91. 

14 As does C. H. Conley in The First English Translators of the Classics (New York: 1927), 
pp. 18 ff. 

48 Raleigh and Quinn 

15 Conley, op. cit., pp. 18, 23-31, 35-41. 

^Dictionary of National Biography, sub nomine. A disappointingly incomplete account of Googe's 
career also appears in Richard C. Barnett, Place, Profit and Power. A Study of the Servants of William 
Cecil, Elizabethan Statesman, James Sprunt Studies in History and Political Science, 51 (1969): 65-7. 

17 Naunton, op. cit., pp. 104-05, 108-09. See also John Aubrey's account of Raleigh, studying 
most while at sea, always carrying a trunk of books on his voyages. Oldys and Birch, eds., 
The Works of Sir Walter Ralegh (Oxford: 2 vols., 1829), VIII, p. 739. 

18 CSPD 1547-80, pp. 159, 161, 193. 

19 Joan Thirsk, Economic Policy and Projects. The Development of a Consumer Society in Early 
Modern England (Oxford: 1978), p. 88. 

20 Ibid., p. 52. 

21 In listing them Wyndham Hulme took pains to point out that this number could be incom- 
plete since it rests on the entries printed in the Calendars of the Patent Rolls. E. Wyndham 
Hulme, "The History of the Patent System under the Prerogative and at Common Law," Law 
Quarterly Review, 46 (1896): 145. For the negotiations with foreigners, see CSPD 1547-80, passim. 

22 Wyndham E. Hulme, "The History of the Patent System under the Prerogative and at 
Common Law. A Sequel," Law Quarterly Review, 61 (1900): 52. 

23 Ibid., p. 52. 

24 John W. Shirley, "Sir Walter Raleigh's Guiana Finances," Huntington Library Quarterly, 13 
(1949): 55, 59. 

25 Thirsk, Alternative Agriculture, to be published. 

26 David B. Quinn, Raleigh and the British Empire (London: 1947), p. 37. 

27 Ibid., p. 37; Rowse, op cit., p. 140. 

28 Anxiety about grain shortages is mirrored in the State Papers in government-solicited reports 
on measures to restrain grain export and keep the markets furnished. They begin in May 1585 
and continue until December 1588. CSPD 1581-90, passim. 

29 J.D. Gould, "The Crisis in the Export Trade, 1586-7," English Historical Review, 71 (1956): 

30 Eleanor Grace Clark, Ralegh and Marlowe. A Study in Elizabethan Fustian (New York: 1941), 
p. 31. 

31 Peter Clark, ed., The European Crisis of the 1590s. Essays in Comparative History (London, 
1985), pp. 4-5. 

32 01dys and Birch, eds., Works of Ralegh, op. cit., vol. VIII, pp. 744-5. 

33 Rowse, op. cit., pp. 148-9; J. B., "Sir Walter Raleigh at Sherborne," Gentleman's Magazine, 
1853, part II, pp. 435 ff., and 1854, part I, pp. 19 ff. 

34 Joan Thirsk, ed., The Agrarian History of England and Wales, V, 1640-1750 (Cambridge: 
1986), Part II, p. 323; Victor Skipp, Crisis and Development. An Ecological Case Study of the Forest 
of Arden, 1570-1674 (Cambridge: 1978), passim; H. C. Darby, The Draining of the Fens (Cam- 
bridge: 1956), pp. 275, 279. 

35 See, for example, Reynolde Scot, A Perfect Platforme of a Hoppe-garden (London: 1576); Leonard 
Mascall, The Husbandrie, Ordering and Government of Poultrie (London: 1581?); idem., The First 
Book of Cattel (London: 1596). For a fuller list, see G. E. Fussell, The Old English Farming 
Books from Fitzherbert to Tull (London: 1947). 

36 Thirsk, Alternative Agriculture, to be published. 

37 PRO SP63/144. 

^Dictionary of National Biography, sub nomine; Francis R. Johnson, "Thomas Hill: An Elizabethan 
Huxley," Huntington Library Quarterly, 4 (1944): 329-51. 

39 On Hill, see Johnson, op cit. On Hariot, see DNB, sub nomine; Muriel Rukeyser, op. cit; 
and John W. Shirley, Thomas Harriot: a Biography (Oxford: 1983), pp. 51, 67, 70. For one of 
Hill's gardening books, in a modern reprint, see Dydymus Mountain, The Gardener's Labyrinth 
(New York: 1982). 

Raleigh's England 49 

40 In discussion at the Raleigh conference Professor David Quinn correctly pointed out that 
potato cultivation could have developed in the time of Robert Boyle, Earl of Cork, who bought 
Raleigh's estate from him; he was extremely interested in farming and gardening. 

41 J.G. Hawkes, "The History of the Potato, Part III" Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, 
6-7 (1967): 290-91. 

42 W. Coles, Adam in Eden (London: 1657), p. 33. 

43 Joan Thirsk, ed., The Agrarian History of England and Wales (Cambridge: 1986), V, part 
I, p. 64; Hawkes, op. cit., p. 292. 

^Joan Thirsk, "Forest, Field and Garden: Landscapes and Economies in Shakespeare's England," 
in John F. Andrews, ed., William Shakespeare: His World, His Work, His Influence (New York: 
1985), vol. I, pp. 265-6. 

45 Williams, op. cit., pp. 212, 214-5; Rowse, op. cit., pp. 242-3. 

46 Mary Dewar, Sir Thomas Smith. A Tudor Intellectual in Office (London: 1964), p. 143. 

47 Rowse, op. cit., pp. 242-3. 

48 Rowse, op. cit., p. 262; Joan Thirsk, "Forest, Field, and Garden," op. cit., pp. 258-9. 

49 01dys and Birch, eds., Works of Ralegh, op. cit., vol. VIII, p. 725. 

50 Robert Ashton, ed., James I by his Contemporaries (London: 1969), pp. 232, 238-42. 

51 Many glimpses of this tension between the Court and the country life are seen in 
contemporary correspondence. See, for example, Ashton, op. cit., pp. 237 (Lord Thomas Howard 
to Sir John Harington, 1611: "God speed your ploughing at the court: I know you do it rarely 
at home"), 244 (Sir John Harington describing drunken frolics at Court when the King of 
Denmark visited James I, 1606: "I wish I was at home: O rus, quando te aspiciam?" Raleigh 
himself, when in the Tower, wrote "There is no course more comely, nor any resolution so 
well beseeming a wise man ... as to retire himself from court and company." Rowse, op. cit. , 
p. 262. See also Arthur Throckmorton's preoccupations in Northamptonshire, when he withdrew 
from Court. Rowse, op cit., pp. 218, 273, 190-1, 275, 281. 

Who Were the Roanoke Colonists? 

William S. Powell* 

Walter Raleigh secured his charter from Queen Elizabeth in the spring of 
1584, taking up where his half-brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, was unfortunately 
obliged to end his etforts at colonization in America. As it turned out, Raleigh 
was little if any more successful, yet over the next three years he was respon- 
sible for sending a reconnaissance expedition to America in 1584; something 
of a military expedition in 1585-86; and a colonizing expedition — consisting 
of men, women, and boys — in 1587. And finally, in 1590 a futile attempt was 
made to locate the settlers left in 1587. 

We know who some of the leaders were of each of these groups making 
their way to Roanoke Island. Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe of the first 
are perhaps not as well known as some of the others, but more and more is 
being discovered about even these two young men who were still in their twen- 
ties. Of those involved with the second voyage, Ralph Lane, Thomas Harriot, 
Simon Fernandes, Sir Francis Drake, and Sir Richard Grenville among them, 
we know more. John White, governor of the 1587 colony, is still a shadowy 
figure, but his reputation has been growing of late, and we have the names 
of more than a hundred of his colonists. 

Among the Roanoke Colonists during these three years were several other 
men who were not actually leaders but with whom we have more than a passing 
acquaintance. Among them are Thomas Buckner, mercer, at whose house in 
London Harriot died; Thomas Cavendish, who later sailed around the world; 
Joachim Ganz, native of Prague, a mineral expert, and the first American Jewish 
colonist; Edward Gorges, relative of both Gilbert and Raleigh, and member 
of a family prominent in both old and New England; Daniel Hochstetter, German 
mineral specialist; Abraham Kendall, veteran navigator, noted for his mathematical 
skill, and who afterwards was with Raleigh in South America; Martin Laurentson, 
a Dane who was in England to study maritime warfare and navigation; and 
George Raymond, who subsequently had a notable career at sea but was killed 
in 1625 by the last shot fired in the taking of the castle at Cadiz. These were 
all men in whom Raleigh (or his advisors) must have had confidence and who, 
indeed, proved themselves a little later. 

Before trying to suggest who some of the ordinary people may have been, 
let me alert you to what I am about to do. The names of the people among 
the Roanoke Colonists have been something of a hobby with me that I have 
enjoyed for more than forty years. Having collected notes about them on both 
sides of the Atlantic, I have come to consider some of these people, who really 
are no more than names in lists, to be real people, and in the "next world" 


Raleigh and Quinn 

William S. Powell, professor emeritus at UNC-CH, spoke at the Saturday luncheon 
on "Who Were the Roanoke Colonists?" 

I expect to recognize them! To say that I have some questions for them is an 

My sources have been county and local histories, biographies, parish registers, 
lists of university alumni, reports of the Historical Manuscripts Commission, 
finding aids and documents at the London Guildhall, the Public Record Office, 
Somerset House (before the wills were moved), and at many county record offices, 
but one of the best tools has been the Burnett-Morris Index in the public library 
at Exeter. I have looked for needles in every haystack I encountered. 

H. G. Jones instructed me not to be scholarly this afternoon even if I could. 
In a moment you will conclude that I took his advice. For one thing, I have 
usually omitted the customary weaseling (but often necessary) words such as 
"perhaps," "undoubtedly," and "quite likely." But you must understand that what 
I tell you this afternoon about the Roanoke Colonists applies not necessarily 
to a particular colonist but only to someone with the same name as a colonist — 

Who Were the Roanoke Colonists? 53 

living at the same time and of roughly the right age. Nevertheless, in the case 
of the 1587 colonists, what I shall say pertains only to people for whom I have 
found nothing to suggest that they survived beyond that date. Rarely am I confi- 
dent beyond doubt that what I have turned up actually applies to a Roanoke 
Colonist, much as I would like for it to. 

There is good evidence, however, of five men who came to Roanoke whose 
names do not appear in the contemporary lists. One THOMAS BAYLY, according 
to the Historical Manuscripts Commission report on the papers of the Marquess 
of Bath, wrote a letter to the Earl of Shrewsbury about the return of Drake 
to Portsmouth which indicates that Bayly had been with Drake. An 1868 
biography of Raleigh cites a Spanish deposition at Simancas by RICHARD 
BUTLER saying that he went to America with Captain Amadas. The sketch 
of Sir THOMAS GATES in the Dictionary of National Biography says that he 
was with Drake at Roanoke when the colonists were picked up. The inscription 
on the tomb of ROBERT MASTERS at Burghill, Herefordshire, records that 
he was in Virginia with Cavendish. And according to the list of graduates of 
Cambridge, Sir MARTIN STUTEVILLE was also in America with Drake. 

There are several general statements that can be made which can be substantiated. 
(1) Around a dozen of the Roanoke Colonists had been at Oxford or Cambridge 
a year or two before they set out on Raleigh's second or third expedition. Such 
a voyage, they must have hoped, would offer excitement, a challenge, or an 
opportunity to get rich. (2) Fathers, or other relatives with the same family 
name, pledged generously towards the defense of the country against the Spanish 
Armada. I imagine that one reason they did this was in the hope of speeding 
relief to the Roanoke Colonists. (3) It seems quite apparent that there were 
many French Huguenots among the Roanoke venturers. (4) Many colonists bore 
typical West Country names, but there were some from Essex, Lincolnshire, 
and Yorkshire. Others clearly originated in Ireland and in London. A number 
of Welsh and a few Scottish names also appear, while a few seem to be German 
or Dutch. (5) If I could definitely connect the Roanoke Colonist with the person 
about whom I have found some facts, I could tell you that there was a priest, 
a doctor, a lawyer, a basketmaker, some Thames watermen, and practitioners 
of other professions and occupations. (6) I would say that some of the 1587 
colonists were wives, sisters, brothers, fathers, sons, or otherwise related to some 
of the 1585-86 colonists and suggest that we might thereby have a clue as to 
the surnames of a few of those abandoned by Lane or left by Drake. (7) Some 
of the earliest settlers at Jamestown bore the names of Roanoke Colonists, and 
while I realize that most of them were common English names (including three 
which appear in my own family), I would suggest that they came to America 
in hope of finding relatives left at Roanoke in 1587. (8) From Governor John 
White's journal we know that two of the women in his colony were pregnant 
and gave birth soon after their arrival. Another was the mother of a nursing 

54 Raleigh and Quinn 

child. (9) The crossing took just ten days short of three months. When I think 
of the conditions under which these people reached Roanoke, I feel a great deal 
of admiration for their courage and imagine them to have been people of great 
determination. I like to think that they might have felt rewarded if they could 
have known the ultimate result of their sacrifice in laying the foundation of 
English culture in America. 

Fourteen of the Roanoke Colonists crossed the Atlantic more than once. John 
White came the maximum number of times — four. Simon Fernandes came three 
times, while Philip Amadas made the voyage twice. Two of the 1587 — or "Lost 
Colonists"— had been over previously. Six men who returned with White in 
1590 had been among Ralph Lane's company. 

But who might these brave, or perhaps foolhardy, people have been? As time 
permits I will share with you some hints from my random notes — and encourage 
you to take up the challenge, if you like, to match hints and facts. 

JOHN ACTON had attended Balliol College, became a captain, and was 
eventually knighted. While he may well have been the colonist, don't forget 
that I really don't know. 

JOHN ARUNDELL was colonel of horse when Raleigh was lieutenant 
general. Three other members of the same Roanoke colony, JOHN HARRIS, 
ROTTENBURY, and ROWSE also served in the same unit, so I am willing 
to conclude that this is a bit of "new" information about four of Ralph Lane's 
men. That four friends from the same military unit decided to go to Roanoke 
would not be surprising. 

VALENTINE BEALE was with the Lane colony for a year. Surely this name 
was unusual enough that he can be identified as the father of baby Valentine 
Beale baptized at St. Matthew, Friday Street, on 19 February 1597. 

JOHN BEDFORD is identified by David Quinn as master of the Moonlight 
on the 1590 expedition. Papers at Hatfield House show, among other things, 
that he was also master of the Roebuck in 1592. 

WILLIAM BERDE of the "Lost Colony" was involved in some correspondence 
pertaining to coastal defense in 1586— just the year before going to Roanoke. 
His knowledge certainly would have been valuable at Fort Raleigh in America. 
One Christopher Marshall, who had been at Roanoke Island with Ralph Lane 
in 1585-86, was married to Elizabeth Byrde, so the possibility exists that 
Christopher persuaded his brother-in-law, William, to go to America. 

RICHARD BERRYE, also of the "Lost Colony," was a muster captain in 
1572, and identified in 1579 as being the son of James and his wife, Jeane, daughter 
and heir of Thomas Lane. This, of course, suggests some connection with Ralph 
Lane. He might have been a cousin. 

JOHN BROCKE was a shoemaker and certainly would have been a useful 
member of the Ralph Lane expedition when shoes must have been worn out 
on treks along the Chesapeake Bay and down to Lake Mattamuskeet. 

Who Were the Roanoke Colonists? 55 

FRANCIS BROOKE is identified by Quinn as treasurer of the 1585 expedition. 
The 12th Report of the Historical Manuscripts Commission has several letters 
from one of this name from Portsmouth about shipping affairs, all of which 
tie together very nicely. 

THOMAS BUTLER was one of the "Lost Colonists." Ten years previously 
one of this name had been in court in Essex because "a red petycote" had been 
stolen from his house. 

ANTHONY CAGE. Harley manuscript 1483, fol. 17b, has a rough sketch 
of arms granted Anthony Cage of London. Several children of a man of this 
name were baptized at St. Matthew's, Friday Street. Remember that Valentine 
Beale's name also appears in the same register. This Anthony, I suggest, was 
a brother of John Cage. John came over in 1584 and Anthony in 1587. John 
may have convinced Anthony to join up. 

JOHN CHANDLER of the Lane colony was the father of several children 
baptized at another church in Friday Street in the 1570s. It might be possible 
to make a case for Friday Street as a recruiting center for the Roanoke voyages. 

JOHN CHAPMAN entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1568 and was 
rector of a church in Suffolk in 1577, but there was another man of the same 
name who was a grocer in 1566, while many John Chapmans show up in docu- 
ments in the Essex Record Office. Take your pick— priest, grocer, or litigant. 
He was one of the Lost Colonists and so was ALIS CHAPMAN, perhaps the 
wife of John. Or she may well have been the wife of the Chapman (for whom 
no Christian name is recorded) who may have been left in charge of the men 
who remained on Roanoke Island in 1586 when the Lane colony departed — or 
perhaps he was one of the unfortunate men out on reconnaissance at the time 
the fleet sailed, and Alis had come over seeking him. Or perhaps Alis Chapman 
was a widow seeking a lost son. The unnamed Chapman may have been Robert, 
as one Robert married Ales Pouker at St. Mary the Virgin, Aldmanbury, London, 
in 1579. It may merely have been a coincidence, but at the same church and 
in the same year, a William Millerd married Dorothy Booth, and William Millard 
was also one of Lane's colonists. 

JOHN CLARKE is a name that occurs at about the right time in both Cam- 
bridge and Oxford lists, and he may well be one of them, as he was described 
as one of the "principall Gentlemen" of the 1585 voyage. One of this name 
contributed to the defense against the Armada, while another, conceivably the 
son of the colonist, was captured by the Spanish at Point Comfort, Va., in 1611. 

WILLIAM CLEMENT and JAMES HYNDE, both "Lost Colonists," were 
imprisoned at Colchester Castle at the same time in 1582; apparently the two 
were guilty of stealing forty sheep. 

ABRAHAM COCKE was captain of one of the ships on the 1590 crossing 
intended to relieve the colonists. It rather clearly was he who later achieved 
fame as a privateer. On one occasion in 1581, however, while only a seaman, 

56 Raleigh and Quinn 

he fell out with the captain over victuals and went ashore at Bahia, Brazil, where 
he married and settled down. In 1587 he was captured by an English ship as 
he was piloting a small Portuguese ship, but he afterwards commanded English 
ships sailing to Brazil. 

MARMADUKE CONSTABLE is one of the few heretofore obscure colonists 
whom I think I have positively identified. He matriculated at Caius College, 
Cambridge, in 1581 at the age of 16, was the son of Marmaduke of Yorkshire, 
died in 1607, and is buried in York Minster. 

CHRISTOPHER COOPER, a member of the Lost Colony of 1587, was 
one of the Assistants in the government and it was he who initially volunteered 
to return to England with the fleet that brought them over to expedite the 
shipment of supplies. He changed his mind the following day, however, and 
Governor White returned. It is possible that Cooper was White's brother-in-law 
or his nephew, as White was married in 1566 to Tomasyn Cooper. 

ANANIAS DARE is best remembered as the father of Virginia Dare, the 
first English child born in America. He was a tiler and bricklayer and was the 
father of a "natural son," John Dare, in London. A member of the Dare family 
living in England now thinks he is a descendant of John Dare. In Australia, 
a pilot named Dare, who flies sightseers from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock, 
tells me that his father, a native of England, was aware of the role of the Dares 
in early American history, but he does not know whether this was based on 
family tradition or simply from his reading. 

This year in London, Lebame Houston of Manteo was doing some research 
in the Guildhall where she consulted the register of St. Martin's Parish, Ludgate, 
and found that ELINOR WHITE (DARE) was baptized on 9 May 1568. She 
was, therefore, 19 years of age when Virginia, her daughter by Ananias Dare, 
was born. 

ROGER DEANE was from Devon and married to Elizabeth Wood— and 
there were four Woods, including Agnes, among the colonists. He was described 
as a gentleman in 1573 when he purchased a part of Frithelstock Manor. He 
was still living in 1616 and recorded as a resident of Newton Petrock. Deane 
was with Lane's colony; THOMAS ELLIS, a warden of St. Petrock, Exeter, 
was a "Lost Colonist." The place-name suggests that they may have been ac- 
quainted and naturally raises a question about the role of Deane in the decision 
of Ellis to go to Roanoke. But a bit more about Ellis in a few minutes. 

EDMOND ENGLISH was a "Lost Colonist," and someone named Edmund 
English had entered Magdalene College, Cambridge, in 1565. The same? Maybe 

SIMON FERNANDES, identified then simply as a mariner, was licensed 
by Raleigh in 1582 to keep a tavern and sell wine in Plymouth. We remember 
him now as the pilot of Raleigh's expeditions, and because he refused to follow 
his employer's directions to take the 1587 colony to the Chesapeake Bay. 

Who Were the Roanoke Colonists? 57 

THOMAS FOXE was with Ralph Lane at Roanoke in 1585-86. In 1559 
he was described as being 12 years old and the son of Thomas Foxe, a clothworker. 
He was taken in by a Mr. Quarles "for his lewdness." One of this name was 
married in 1567 and died in 1603, but another one— or perhaps the same one— in 
1594 was part owner of the cargo of a ship of Teignmouth. 

JOHN GIBBES is an example of a "Lost Colonist" for whom a number 
of scattered facts fit. One of this name entered St. John's College, Cambridge, 
in 1564; the same or another married a widow in 1575; and a John, "Gentle- 
man," who may have been his father or a relative, contributed £25 towards the 
country's defense at the time of the Armada. According to a genealogy of the 
Gibbs family by Herbert C. Gibbs, this family as well as the Cheyne and Wotton 
families were all related. Another source reports that the Wooton family was 
related by marriage to the Courtney family. If these sources are correct and the 
Roanoke colonists were members of this branch of the family, it is likely that 
VINCENT CHEYNE and RISE COURTNEY of the Lane colony and this 
John Gibbes and LEWES WOTTON of the 1587 colony were all related. 

1584, because of the possibility of a relationship to both Raleigh and Sir Richard 
Grenville, should, in time, be identified. One secondary source suggests that 
William Grenville's experience with Amadas and Barlowe may have influenced 
Sir Richard in taking charge of Raleigh's large expedition of 1585. Another 
example of possible persuasion exists between JOHN and THOMAS HARRIS; 
John came first and Thomas then joined John White's 1587 colony. If this is 
the case, I can imagine that poor John was tormented by the thought that he 
had sent Thomas off to be swallowed up in the wilderness of America. This 
just might account for the fact that one William Harris contributed the handsome 
sum of £50 towards the defeat of the Armada. 

HENRIE GREENE is one of only eight names known of members of the 
1584 expedition. One was graduated from Corpus Christi, Cambridge, in 1577. 
There is a 1685 genealogy of the Greene family of Dorset with information 
on those who came to America, and in time it may be possible to figure out 
how the Roanoke Colonist fits in. 

I have already suggested that two colonists may have spent time together 
in the same prison. ROWLAND GRIFFYN, probably Welsh judging by his 
name, returned from having spent nearly a year with the Lane colony. A man 
of this name in August 1594 was convicted of robbery and sent to the same 
prison as Clement and Hynde, but he escaped in September. But just to suggest 
how impossible it is to identify the Roanoke Colonists, a 16-year-old youth 
named Rowland Griffa/i, of County Caernarvon, entered Exeter College in 
December 1587 and was a student at Lincoln's Inn in 1594. 

There probably was some connection between THOMAS HEWET of the 
Lost Colony and JACOB WHIDDON, captain of Raleigh's ship the Roebuck 

58 Raleigh and Quinn 

Since both Hewet and one Joan Whiddon are mentioned in the 1586 will of 
Joan Woulston there must have been some relationship. 

GEORGE HOWE, the Lost Colonist who was killed by the Indians soon 
after his arrival, may have been the brother-in-law of Thomas Rottenbury of 
Lane's colony. Rottenbury's wife was Elizabeth Howe. And more about Howe 

RICHARD HUMFREY was one of Lane's colonists. There are numerous 
clues as to his identity, but an unusual fact is that in 1589, Elizabeth, the daughter 
of one Richard Humfrey, ran in the way of workmen at a mill and was crushed 
by the millstone. There was a boy named Thomas Humfrey with the Lost Colo- 
nists but no adult of that name. I think a good guess would be that he came 
with his uncle, George Howe, to verify for himself the reports his father made 
of America, and after Howe's early death he surely was some comfort to his 
cousin, young George Howe, Jr. 

JOHN JONES is clearly a common name, but it will help me make a point. 
This was the name of one of the 1587 colonists, and there were two others 
Joneses in the group — a man and a woman, GRIFFEN and JANE. Strange 
to say, in my research I have not been overwhelmed by John as a Christian 
name in the Jones family. There was one, however, of the right dates who was 
licensed to practice medicine and was patronized by the Earl of Pembroke and 
the Earl of Shrewsbury. However, another (at least I assume it was not the doctor!) 
was charged in 1581 with "violent and outrageous behaviour, breaking the peace, 
beating the constables and other officers, abusing the clergy, drinking, dicing, 
brawling, quarrelling, scoffing, loitering, swearing, &c." I would not be surprised 
if his neighbors urged him to try his luck in America. But I am left to contend 
with still another John Jones, one who was a gold and silversmith in Exeter 
between 1569 and 1584. There is some slight suggestion that Jane Pierce, of 
the 1587 colony, may have been related to the Joneses. 

EDWARD KELLEY and THOMAS WISSE were both members of Ralph 
Lane's colony. The homes of the Kelley and the Wisse families in Devon were 
only about 2V2 miles apart, and so far as I can determine both are still standing. 
I have quite a few notes on people of these names and hope eventually to be 
able to sort them out. 

RICHARD KEMME, a Lost Colonist, has a name that has turned up only 
once, even if in a slightly different form, so it may be he. On 13 May 1582 
it was suggested to the Privy Council by a former mayor of Thetford that "Mr. 
Richard Kempe" be nominated for the office of Recorder, the chief legal officer 
of the city. Now Thetford is in Lincolnshire not far from the home of John 
Pory, a Jamestown official a few years hence. Pory's sister married a man name 
Ellis, and there was an Ellis man and a boy also with the Lost Colony. Pory, 
in 1622, was one of the earliest explorers from Virginia to visit and report on 
the northeastern part of North Carolina — looking, I wouldn't be surprised, for 

Who Were the Roanoke Colonists? 59 

his brother-in-law and nephew. Tempting bits of evidence (even more than I 
have just cited) suggest that a few other Lincolnshire folks were on Roanoke 

EDWARD KETTELL, is not a common name, since I have found only one 
reference to it. In the Essex Record Office there is a 1602 document in which 
a maimed soldier, then in the Low Country, seeks the aid of Edward Kyttlye 
in getting a pension. Since the pension was granted, we may conclude that Kettell 
was a man of some influence. 

RALPH LANE is too well known to require more comment than to add 
a few facts. He was a cousin of Sir Christopher Hatton, lord chancellor to Queen 
Elizabeth. William Cecil, Baron Burghley, was responsible for bringing Lane 
to the attention of the Queen. Lane participated in Drake's Portuguese expedition 
of 1589 during which he was critical of Drake and described by one historian 
as "a captious critic, with a genius for grumbling at his superior officers." Although 
not a new fact, it is not widely known that Lane was knighted in 1593. 

Captain WILLIAM LANE, who was with John White on his 1590 search 
for the Lost Colony, may have been the one of this name who married Jane 
Mattacott in Barnstaple, Devon, in 1579 and whose will and inventory, dated 
1632, are in the Cornwall Record Office. 

One MARGARET LAWRENCE, the name of a Lost Colonist, was chris- 
tened at St. Thomas the Apostle church, London, in January 1569. 

JOHN LINSEY was with the Lane colony in 1585-86. A John Linsey entered 
Peter house College, Cambridge, in 1578 and was graduated in 1581 from Clare 
College; he was a schoolmaster in Cambridgeshire in 1582 and ordained to the 
priesthood in Norwich in 1584. In 1591 he was vicar of a parish in South Creake, 

ROBERT LITTLE was one of the Lost Colonists of 1587. A document in 
the Essex Record Office contains the testimony of a man of the same name 
about a death resulting from an accident at a football game in 1567 in which 
he apparently participated. 

WILLIAM LUCAS appears in the roster of 1587 colonists. A yeoman of 
this name of London in 1568 married Alice Bill. In the course of time Thomas 
Lucas of Middlesex contributed £25 towards the defeat of the Spanish Armada. 

The name of THOMAS LUDDINGTON, although it has no title accompany- 
ing it, appears fifth in the list of Ralph Lane's colonists among the "Masters" 
and "Captains." There may well have been some connection between— or, indeed, 
he may have been the same person— with Thomas Lodington, fellow of Lincoln 
College, Oxford, from 1582 to 1605. He became a noted preacher in the last 
decade of the sixteenth century and afterwards. This Thomas Lodington was 
from the County of Lincoln, entered St. Mary Hall, Oxford, at the age of 14 
in 1579, was graduated in 1582, awarded a master's degree in 1585, a divinity 
degree in 1594, and licensed to preach in 1597. The question naturally arises, 

60 Raleigh and Quinn 

why the lapse of time between the master's and the divinity degree? A year 
in American might account for some it. 

JANE MANNERING, a Lost Colonist, undoubtedly was a Mainwaring, a 
common family name, and Jane often appears in it as a given name. Jane, the 
colonist, may have been a cousin of HUMFREY NEWTON, another Lost 
Colonist, as his grandmother was Katherine Mainwaring. 

CHRISTOPHER MARSHALL, one of the Lane colonists, bears a name 
common in Yorkshire as well as in London. A man of this name was married 
at St. Martin, Ludgate, London, to Elizabeth Byrde of Essex in 1572, and, as 
we have just seen, William Berde came over the following year. Or Colonist 
Marshall may be identified with a younger man of the same name, as a "Xpofer" 
Marshall and Margaret Robinson were married in 1597, in Rotherham, Yorkshire, 
where a Christopher Marshall was buried in 1632. It is of further interest that 
one Christopher Marshall of Berkshire contributed £25 towards the defeat of 
the Spanish Armada. Was he perhaps the Lane colonist who was concerned 
about the safety of his brother-in-law? 

JAMES MASON, a Lane colonist, might have been the young man of the 
same name who entered St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1579, was graduated 
from Trinity in 1583, received the M. A. degree in 1586, and was licensed to 
teach grammar in 1583. He may be the one who died in 1638. 

The name of ROBERT MASTERS does not appear among those recorded 
by Richard Hakluyt or known to and mentioned by John White. Nevertheless, 
he remembered his voyage the rest of his life and the facts were engraved on 
the brass plaque attached to his tomb: 

Here lyeth the bodye of Robert Masters 

Gent: Late Lord of this Mannour, who travelled with Thomas Candish 
Esq r : to Virginia and afterward aboute the globe of y e whole worlde 
& after his returne marryed Winefrid y e daught r of Thorns: Cornwall 
of Buckland Gent. By whom he hath 2 sones & 7 daughters. He departed 
this life the .3. of Iune A°. 1619. 

WALTER MILL, a Lane colonist, likely was a member of the Mill family 
whose home, Traymill, built about 1400, still stands on the River Exe between 
Thorverton and Bickleigh, north of Exeter. It is now a farmhouse. The Cornwall 
Record Office has the inventory of the estate of Walter Mill dated 1625 consisting 
mostly of cattle. 

WILLIAM MILLARD, as we have already seen, was married to Dorothy 
Booth in the same church and in the same year as Robert and Alis Chapman, 
and there were Chapmans involved in both the Lane and the John White colonies. 
Millard was with Lane. One of this name, later knighted, was sheriff of Bedford- 
shire, while still another was a preacher in 1592 in Worcester. 

HENRY MILLETT, who was with John White on the 1590 search for the 
Lost Colony, surely was the Henry Millett, whose son, Thomas, was baptized 

Who Were the Roanoke Colonists? 61 

in the Parish of St. Thomas the Apostle, London, in 1587. He may have hoped 
that his presence on Roanoke Island would help him find MICHAEL MYLLET 
who was perhaps his brother or father. 

HUMFREY NEWTON of the Lost Colony may well have been the baby 
of this name christened at Wilmslow Parish, Cheshire, in 1569. The Newton 
family lived at Pownall Hall. He was the grandson of Katherine Mainwaring, 
and it was noted in a local history that he died without children and unmarried, 
facts which would make his identity as an 18-year-old Lost Colonist reasonable. 

WILLIAM NICHOLES and JOHN NICHOLLS were both associated with 
John White's 1587 colony although John did not sail; he was one of the Assis- 
tants and probably one of those who remained in London to represent the colony 
there. Both men may have been related to Philip Amadas whose mother was 
Jane Nichols. In 1581 one William Nicholas petitioned Sir Francis Walsingham 
for letters to the King of Scotland for the restoration of a ship and cargo seized 
by one Lachlan McLane "of the Out-Isles of Scotland." Some of the crew had 
been slain "and cast to the dogs to be devoured." William in 1590 may have 
been the father of the minor, George, associated with "the trade of a clothier." 

FRAUNCIS NORRIS of the Lane colony may have been a member of the 
noted Norris family some of whose members held high positions during this 
time. One Francis Norris became the first Earl of Berkshire while another, of 
Brentwood, was a musician and one of the "recognizances for alehouse-keeping" 
for Richard Sommers, suggesting a connection with Sir Walter Raleigh. Raleigh 
issued a license to the wife of George Sommers (discoverer of Bermuda) to keep 
a tavern, so there may have been some relationship between George and Richard 
Sommers and Norris, the colonist. 

GABRIELL NORTH, who was at Roanoke in 1585-86, possibly was the 
father of Robert North (1585?— 1652?), grandson of Roger, second Lord North, 
and who sailed with Raleigh on his voyage to Guiana in 1617. 

EDWARD NUGENT is described as an Irishman serving Ralph Lane. Later 
sources refer to him as a gentlemen and a man to whom extensive grants of 
land were made in County Cavan, Ulster. 

HENRY and ROSE PAYNE, undoubtedly husband and wife, were members 
of White's 1587 colony. Henry Paynes who may have been this one appears 
in contemporary records in Suffolk and Devon. 

Several possibilities exist to suggest the identity of Lost Colonist IANE [JANE] 
PIERCE, but none of them are positive. One Henry Piers, who died in 1623, 
had married Jane Jones, and this is a hint that Jane Pierce may have been a 
cousin or some other relationship to Lost Colonists Griffen, Jane, and John 
Jones, a cozy family group. An equally interesting puzzle might exist in the 
fact that a study of aliens in London notes that Jone Pierse was Portuguese, 
daughter of Balthasar Pierse, merchant. She was the sister of Fornando and Simon, 
which certainly suggests that they might have known the pilot, Simon Fernandes. 
But a further coincidence is that their landlord was one Frauncis White. 

62 Raleigh and Quinn 

MICHAEL POLISON was referred to as "Master" in the list of Lane colonists, 
suggesting that he was a cut above the average man, at least in rank. He may- 
have been the Mihill, son of Thomas Pullison of St. Antholin Parish christened 
in 1562, but more certainly he was the Alderman Pollison who in 1581 reported 
the number of aliens living in Vintry Ward of London. 

STEVEN POMARIE, of Lane's colony, must have been a member of the 
extensive Pomeroy family of Devon and Cornwall. Records of administration 
for the estate of Stephen Pomery were registered in 1598, but at the time of 
the last search they could not be found. 

A clue to the identify of Lane's RICHARD POORE may be found in County 
Tipperary where Richard Poore of Poores Town in 1592 was authorized a lease 
for as much of the Queen's land as was valued at about fifty pounds a year, 
or it may exist in Dublin where the will of Richard Poore, a husbandman of 
Ballyfermot, was recorded in 1616. To complicate the determination, however, 
it appears that a man of this name was married to Margarett Buttler in St. 
Andrew's Church, Plymouth, in 1592 and that one of the same name was buried 
at St. Martin's in the Field, London, in 1603. 

Among Lane's colonists was HENRY POTKIN, and a list of aliens in London 
notes that Henry Potkyn of Southwarke was over the age of 12 but not a 
householder in 1549; in 1572 a man of the same name was married to Sicely 
Argentine at St. Peter's, Westcheap. 

EDWARD and WENEFRID POWELL, Lost Colonists, were probably hus- 
band and wife. One Edward Powell was christened at St. Martin's in the Field, 
London, in 1569, and at the time of the threatened invasion by the Spanish 
Armada both Robert and Thomas Powell of Shropshire contributed £25 towards 
the defense of England. 

It is known that Ananias Dare was a tiler and bricklayer and that John White 
was a painter; we may also now know the occupation of another Lost Colonist. 
ROGER PRATT in 1571 was described as being 38 years old, a native of Flanders 
who had lived in London for three years, who went to England for religious 
reasons but was member of no church, and that his occupation was that of 
a cooper. 

GEORGE RAYMOND, captain of the Red Lion with Drake in 1585, was 
called a "gentleman captain and privateer promoter." He was with Drake at 
Cadiz in 1587, was captain of the Elizabeth Bonaventure in the Royal Navy at 
the time of the Spanish Armada attack, and went on an expedition to the West 
Indies in 1591; he was captain and owner or part owner of several other ships 
and engaged in a number of expeditions. In 1625 on the Cadiz voyage he was 
captain of the Great Sapphire. Just as the castle was about to yield, he embraced 
the master of his ship by way of congratulation for a good day's fighting when 
a bullet, the last shot fired by the enemy, killed both him and Sir John Bruce, 
the master. 

Who Were the R.oanoke Colonists? 63 

The parish register of Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Exeter, records the burial 
in 1596 of Heugh Rogers, perhaps the HUGH ROGERS who spent the year 
1585-86 at Roanoke Island. 

THOMAS ROTTENBURY, one of Lane's colonists, must have been a 
member of the Rattenbury family of Okehampton, Devon, as Thomas was a 
name appearing frequently among its members. Marriage and birth records as 
well as references to military service for them are numerous, and Sir Francis 
Drake's will in 1595 mentions Thomas Rattenburie as "my servant." 

ANTHONY ROWSE, a Lane colonist, was a member of Parliament from 
East Looe, Cornwall, in 1584. A friend and finally an executor of the estate 
of Drake, Rowse once commanded a regiment under Raleigh. He was knighted 
at Whitehall in 1603 just prior to King James's coronation. He was married 
three times and had six children. He died in 1620 and is buried in the church 
of St. Dominick near his home, Halton, on the Tamar River below Cotehele. 

HENRY RUFOOTE, a Lost Colonist, may have been the son, or surely 
a relative, of Christopher Ruffote of Devon, a tailor who was described in 
naturalization records as having been born in Brittany in 1524. The name of 
one John Ruffoote, who may have been Henry's brother, appears in documents 
in the Essex Record Office dated 1592 and 1593. 

The names of JOHN SAMPSON, an adult and a boy, appear among the 
Lost Colonists as well as frequently in parish registers in the City of London 
at dates which make them candidates to be these people. Yet the John Sampson 
who contributed £25 towards the defense against the Armada was from the 
county of Durham. 

The RICHARD SARE with Lane could have been the Richard Sayer who 
entered Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1576 and was ordained deacon in London 
in 1585 at the age of 24. It is possible that he did not survive long after returning 
home as one Richard Sara of Ludgvan, Cornwall, was dead in 1587 when his 
will was entered for probate— but this may have been a different person. Further, 
between 1591 and 1608 there are records in Essex of one or more persons of 
the same name who were fined for refusing to work on the roads and for stealing 

In trying to identify THOMAS STEVENS, one of the Lost Colonists, there 
are two likely candidates to consider. One entered Magdalene College, Oxford, 
in 1575, was graduated in 1578, and became a lawyer in 1585. It would cer- 
tainly have been logical to have a lawyer in a permanent colony composed of 
men, women, and children. Another entered St. John's College, Oxford, in 
the same year, 1575, and was graduated in 1577. A Thomas Stevens (the father 
of one of these?) contributed £25 towards the country's defense against the Spanish 
Armada. It is quite likely that another colonist, RICHARD TOMKINS, was 
Stevens's brother-in-law, as a Richard Tompkyns was married to Margaret Stevens 
in St. Sepulchre's Church, London, in 1566. It may well have been Tomkins's 

64 Raleigh and Quinn 

father, also named Richard and entitled to bear heraldic arms, who contributed 
£25 towards defense against the Armada. 

JOHN STUKELY, who came over with Lane, appears to have been the brother 
of Sir Richard Grenville's brother-in-law. It is certain that he was the father 
of Sir Lewis Stukely, vice-admiral of Devon and Raleigh's keeper while he was 
in the Tower. That the elder Stukely's interest in Roanoke and in the New World 
continued probably is reflected in two facts: He contributed £25 towards the 
defeat of the Armada, and in 1610 he was one of the incorporators of the New- 
foundland Company. 

MARTYN SUTTON, a Lost Colonist, has eluded my best efforts to identify 
him, but I have an interesting assumption concerning him. I would guess that 
he was a young man, an only son, and likely to inherit some valuable property. 
Why do I think this? Thomas Sutton of Essex, a man entitled to bear heraldic 
arms, contributed the large sum of £100 to the nation's defense against the Armada 
while two other Sutton men each contributed £25. I can imagine a distressed 
father, a grandfather, and perhaps a childless uncle all deeply concerned about 
the future of the family. 

NICHOLAS SWABBER, who stayed a year with Lane, must have been a 
member of the family of that name associated with St. Martin's in the Field, 
London, in the early seventeenth century. Of German extraction, they settled 
in Lambeth about 1584, and Nicholas perhaps had some special talent that would 
have been useful in a new colony. In the summer of 1622 the newsletter writer, 
John Pory, mentioned that one Swabber had made some false accusations against 
Sir Francis Wyatt, governor of Virginia. My curiosity makes me wonder whether 
Swabber had been one of those who spent the winter on the Chesapeake, and 
had the governor of Virginia made some claim that Swabber disputed? 

The names of AUDRY TAPPAN and THOMAS TOPAN appear in the roster 
of 1587 colonists. Considering the vagaries of spelling in those days, to say nothing 
of the carelessness of typesetters, we may assume that they were husband and 
wife. There is a possibility that they were related to AGNES WOOD of the 
same colony. Although BENJAMIN and JOHN WOOD had been with Amadas 
and Barlowe in 1584, Agnes was the only Wood with the Lost Colony. In 
1549 in St. Bride's Church, Fleet Street, London (where Elinor White and Ananias 
Dare were also married), Robert Woode was married to Johanna Toppam. Was 
Agnes Wood the cousin, or some other relative, of Thomas Topan or Audry 

The TAYLOR family appears to have had an unusually strong interest in 
Raleigh's ventures. JOHN and THOMAS were among Lane's colonists, and 
John returned in 1590 with John White to search for the Lost Colonists. Both 
John and Thomas Taylor appear frequently in records of the time— in Cambridge- 
shire, Devon, Essex, and Kent for John and in Devon, Cornwall, Lincolnshire, 
and Sussex for Thomas. Two men named John each contributed £25 towards 
the defeat of the Armada. CLEMENT and HUGH were Lost Colonists. Several 

Who Were the Roanoke Colonists? 65 

Clements, whose dates are roughly right for the latter two, appear in Kent. 
One Hugh (Hewe de Tailour) was described in 1571 as a native of Flanders 
who had lived in London for two years, was "a twister of silk," and who had 
one son. Hugh possibly was the father of Clement; perhaps it was anticipated 
that their knowledge of silk production would be useful in America. The boy 
WILLIAM WYTHERS may also have been at least acquainted with the Taylor 
family as a Robert Taylor in 1592 married the widow Elizabeth Wythers. 

A Lane colonist, JOHN TWYT, may have been an apothecary as that was 
the occupation of a man of this name who was married in St. Alphage's Church, 
London, in 1580. 

There has been a great deal of speculation about the name HAUNCE 
WALTERS which appears among the list of Lane's colonists and simply HANCE 
as a person accompanying White in 1590. The latter was described by White 
as a surgeon, and he was drowned at Port Ferdinando in 1590. Hance does 
appear as a surname in England. One William Hance entered Trinity College, 
Cambridge, in 1570, while he or another of the same name was questioned 
in 1583 concerning his ecclesiastical and civil obedience to the Queen. Hance 
Walters appears frequently in various records. He was described once as "of Brissels, 
the Kinge of Spaines subiecte," who lived in London after 1567, belonged to 
no church, and had his meals at a boarding house kept by a widow. A year 
later it was reported that he and his servant were going "to the Douche churche," 
that is, the Dutch Reformed Church. He was listed as a "merchaunt" in 
"Candlewykestreete Warde" in 1567, but in 1590 he was described as one of 
the "merchants of Antwerp" living in London. Initially it was said that he contrib- 
uted £100 towards the defeat of the Spanish Armada, but a later accounting 
noted that he had made a loan of £500, apparently in addition to the earlier 
amount. There also was a WILLIAM WALTERS with the Lane colony, but 
what his relationship might have been to Haunce is not revealed. 

There is no evidence to connect Lost Colonist JOAN WARREN with a 
case reported in the Essex Record Office but the names. A single woman, Joan 
Warren of Wetherfield, was found not guilty on 4 July 1560 of stealing £5.13s.4d. 
"from a leathern pouch on his [Tho. Cranford] person." Richard Warren, of 
Myleande, Middlesex, armiger, gave £100 to the Armada defense fund. 

Three unrelated facts may pertain to Lost Colonist WILLIAM WATERS 
as easily as to others of the same name: one was admitted to the Merchant 
Taylors School in 1565; one was christened at St. Mary Somerset Church, London, 
in 1561; and one was a mariner of Plymouth in 1579. 

JOHN WHITE, the artist and the governor of the 1587 colony, was a member 
of the painter-stainers company. He has been studied and reported upon a number 
of times. It is partly from his journal that we know so much about the various 
Roanoke voyages, but Lebame Houston of Manteo has recently discovered in 
the parish register of St. Martin's, Ludgate, London, that White was married 

66 Raleigh and Quinn 

on 7 June 1566 to Tomasyn Cooper. Their son Thomas was born 27 April 
1567 and buried 26 December 1568. Their daughter, Elinor, was born 9 May 
1568. We do not know what relationship, if any, existed between John White 
and CUTHBERT WHITE of the Lost Colony and WILLIAM WHITE of 
the Lane colony. The latter, however, may have been Governor White's son as 
one of this name was described as a member of the painter-stainers company 
in 1597 when he received a license to marry Agnes Richardson in St. Sepulchre's 
Church, London. There are some surviving copies of John White drawings 
believed to have been made by a member of his family, so perhaps it was this 

RICHARD WILDYE, Lost Colonist, illustrates the difficulty of identifying 
the Roanoke Colonists from no further evidence than a name. One Richard 
Wilde or Wylde was graduated from Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1576; another 
one entered Cambridge in 1561 and was a physician in 1583; another entered 
Cambridge in 1561 at the age of 18; one inherited Nettleworth manor in Notting- 
hamshire; another one was at Eton, 1556-61; one was married in January 1587; 
one contributed two sets of verses to Queen Elizabeth in 1560; and finally in 
1580 one was "judged and punished as a vagabond"— and these were all contempo- 
rary Richard Wildes, any one of whom (or none of them) might have been 
the colonist. 

It is quite likely that THOMAS WISSE, a member of the Lane Colony, 
and JOHN HARRIS of the same colony were cousins or uncle and nephew. 
Harris was provost marshal when Raleigh was lord lieutenant general of Cornwall. 
Wisse's mother's maiden name was Harris. Wisse inherited Sydenham, owned 
by the family since the time of Henry IV, and he built "the faire mansion house" 
that was occupied by the family until 1937, when its contents, accumulated 
by the family over three hundred years, were sold. The house is now a school. 

DAVID WILLIAMS, a Lane colonist, entered Jesus College, Cambridge, in 
1573, became a distinguished jurist, and was knighted in 1603. A portrait of 
him is preserved at the manor house, Nether Winchendon, Buckinghamshire. 

BENJAMIN WOOD, an Amadas and Barlowe explorer, and ABRAHAM 
KENDALL, who was one of the settlers who came with Lane, were on a 1590 
expedition to the Straits of Magellan. 

The reader, having worked his way through this mass of facts and supposition, 
will conclude that it is still impossible to answer with any degree of certainty 
the question Who WERE the Roanoke Colonists? There are more clues on this 
point, however, than to the persistent query as to the fate of the Lost Colony. 
We know neither their origin nor their fate, but the events that occurred between 
1584 and 1590, and their relationship to the subsequent permanent settlement 
of America are most important. It was these events that determined that the 
United States would be a nation patterned after an English model. Democratic 
self-government, religious liberty, the English language, and the heritage of Magna 

Who Were the Roanoke Colonists? 67 

Carta are ours in great measure because of the sacrifice of the men, women, 
and children who went to Roanoke. A lively tradition may have survived in 
the families of the 278 people who were at Roanoke Island between 1584 and 
1590. Among them 235 different family names were represented. Between 1607 
and 1625 at Jamestown, England's first permanent settlement in America, there 
were 74 families with the same surnames as those that had been at Roanoke 
Island. 1 Although we cannot be certain of their identity, their names are a precious 
part of our heritage. 


*In presenting Professor Powell, H. G. Jones, secretary-treasurer of the North Caroliniana 
Society and first chairman of America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee (1978-80), 
said: "To provide a lengthy introduction for William S. Powell in North Carolina would be 
the extreme of superfluity, for few names are so well known to our citizens who read and 
study their history. Furthermore, his name is in the forefront of those on the international 
scene who have been intrigued by the earliest English attempts to colonize North America. 
A native Tar Heel — a nickname that under all circumstances he insists must be spelled as two 
words — Bill Powell from childhood was fascinated by history. As a librarian, he contributed 
significantly in the growth of the North Carolina Collection, including its incomparable Sir 
Walter Raleigh Collection; as a professor, he has taught his state's history to more than six 
thousand students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; as a professional writer, 
his entries measure nearly an inch and a half in the card catalog; and as a journalist, he has 
disseminated the story of the past with such exactitude and flowing prose that he passes equally 
as a popular historian and a historian's historian. 

"In addition to the usual works on specialized subjects, Bill Powell compiled the indispensable 
North Carolina Gazetteer and is now preparing the third volume of his massive Dictionary of 
North Carolina Biography. He also is working on two textbooks for North Carolina history 
courses, one for universities, one for public schools. The longtime historian of the Roanoke 
Island Historical Association, Professor Powell has had an abiding interest in the early English 
explorers and settlers, and today's paper on 'Who Were the Roanoke Settlers?' reflects thirty 
years of research on both sides of the Atlantic." 

J The names of the Jamestown colonists will be found in Annie Lash Jester (ed.), Adventurers 
of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1625 ([Richmond? Order of First Families of Virginia], 1964). 

Raleigh's Devon 

Joyce Youings* 

In October 1551 Walter Raleigh, Esquire, with his second son John, who had 
recently come of age, obtained from Richard Duke, Esquire, a lease of the capital 
messuage of the barton of Hayes in the parish of East Budleigh in east Devon. 
Walter had probably lived at Hayes for over twenty years, but he and John now 
had the security of a typical west country lease for a theoretical eighty years but 
terminable by the death of whichever of them lived the longer. 1 For this they 
had probably paid a substantial entry fine. Walter had recently married for the 
third time, the new Mrs. Raleigh being Katherine, nee Champernowne, the widow, 
since 1547, of Otho Gilbert of Compton. It was at Hayes farm, probably in 
1554, that Katherine gave birth to her and Walter's youngest son, Walter junior. 

The kingdom of England, part only of an island off the mainland of Europe, 
which was first reasonably accurately mapped by Christopher Saxton in the 1570s, 
has at its southwest extremity a peninsula reaching out towards the Atlantic and 
comprising Cornwall, Devon, and parts of Somerset and Dorset. Devon alone, 
measuring some sixty-five miles from west to east and barely seventy-five miles 
from north to south, in North Carolina could almost be squeezed in between 
Raleigh and Greensboro. By English standards it was, and is, a large county, with 
a very distinctive physical geography. Its magistrates were organised into three 
"divisions," north, south, and east, but for such matters as the militia or taxation 
the all-important units were still the county's ancient "hundreds," thirty-two 
of them in all. The hundred of East Budleigh comprised the twenty parishes, 
including that of East Budleigh itself, east of the estuary of the river Exe and 
its tributary the river Clyst, some fifty thousand acres in all, with a population, 
calculated from the muster rolls of 1569, of about five thousand. 2 This meant 
that there were about a thousand households, or about thirteen to the square 
mile, considerably more if the uninhabited heathland is excluded. 

Hayes farm lay about a mile from the village of East Budleigh and is as isolated 
today as it was in 1551. A barton at that time was usually a large compact and 
enclosed rural estate. The Raleighs occupied the house but not all the land, Richard 
Duke's lease reserving to himself valuable meadows called "Hay Mede," "Clap 
Mede," and "Little Mede." The farmhouse was not the neat building you see 
today, which has been authoritatively dated to the end of the century, possibly 
as late as the year 1627 carved by the rear entry, but probably a long, low medieval 
house with shuttered, unglazed windows. There may still be parts of the earlier 
house hidden behind plaster, but there are no telltale early roof timbers. Nor 
is there any sign of the chapel dedicated to St. James, which is mentioned in 
a lease of 1525. 3 The firmly Protestant Raleighs would have had no use for a 


Raleigh and Quinn 

The county of Devon in 1575 by Christopher Saxton, from a copy of his Atlas in 
the library of the University of Exeter. Arrow at top points to the hamlet of Raley 
[Raleigh] in north Devon; the one at lower right points to Hayes Farm, where Walter 
Raleigh was born. 

private chapel, and probably used it as a barn. The lease of 1551 mentions only 
"shippens," that is, stables or cowhouses. There were extensive common pasture 
rights on heathland stretching as far as the "towns," that is, villages, of Woodbury 
and Lympstone. 

How much arable land appertained to Hayes is not on record. It would appear 
to have been a predominately pastoral and dairy holding, which would have suited 
Walter Raleigh senior with his many other preoccupations. But when at home 

Raleigh's Devon 


>» * * 

K^ J .4 . - v 


£ .a 

72 Raleigh and Quinn 

he and his boys, like some 90 percent of their fellow Devonians, will have known 
all the sights and smells of the farmyard. They were required by their landlord 
to keep Hay Wood fenced against "destruction and biting of beasts" following 
any treefelling by him. The great timber was his, and also the hawking, hunting, 
fishing, and fowling, but his tenants could help themselves to wood for fuel and 
carpentry. The rent was £12 a year, payable quarterly, with 4d. a year payable 
to the lord of Woodbury for the pasture, and one of the Raleighs had to act 
as tithing man for Hayes. They owed suit, probably no more than occasional 
attendance, at the hundred court of East Budleigh, an ancient tribunal which, 
if it met at all, probably confined itself to small debts. Such obligations on the 
part of tenants varied from place to place, but were attached to the land, not 
to the occupier. 

The Hayes tenancy is interesting in that the Raleighs were undoubtedly 
gentlemen, undoubtedly armigerous, with a lineage far superior to that of their 
landlord. They themselves owned a modest but scattered estate in the parishes 
of Withycombe Raleigh and Colaton Raleigh, all of it, presumably, occupied 
by tenants. 4 The Dukes had acquired Hayes in about 1500 by marriage with its 
heiress, and members of the family had been successful merchants and held civic 
office in Exeter. Richard Duke had done very well for himself in government 
service and had bought a great deal of former monastic property in Otterton, 
on the other side of the river. Gentlemen, of course, whether of ancient or recent 
lineage, were rarely soley rentiers: most occupied some of their land, supplying 
not only their own households but also the markets. Up in north Devon in the 
parish of Pilton, near Barnstaple, was seated one of the many branches of the 
Chichester family. When Sir John Chichester, one of the deputy-lieutenants of 
the county, lay dying in Exeter in 1586 of gaol fever caught from prisoners await- 
ing trial at the Assizes, he left to his wife Ann not only £500, a good deal of 
silver, no less than 16 feather beds, fully furnished, and all his butter, cheese, 
and wool, but also 12 kine (cows), 12 oxen with their gear, 450 sheep, and all 
his pigs, both those at his farm at Youlston in the neighboring parish of Shirwell 
and those at his barton of Raleigh. 5 This last lay in a hamlet in Pilton parish 
which had been part of the estate the Chichesters had acquired in about 1400 
by marriage with the heiress of the senior branch of the Raleigh family. Our 
Walter's immediate forbears had lived at Fardel in the parish of Cornwood near 

Having moved as a young man from Fardel to East Budleigh, Walter Raleigh 
senior was to move again in comparative old age, this time to the city of Exeter. 
In 1555 he became a freeman, which cost him £4. 6 His original intention may 
well have been to take advantage of the trading privileges enjoyed by freemen. 
At any rate by 1569 Walter was missing from the muster roll for East Budleigh, 
his place being taken by his eldest son George, while John had moved to Newton 
Abbot. 7 Young Walter had probably already left home, in the company of his 

Raleigh's Devon 73 

Gilbert half brothers and his Champernowne cousin. 

Quite a few Elizabethan gentlemen did move from the country into town, 
usually, it was said, in order to economise on servants, the country gentlemen 
being expected to keep a great many. In Exeter the Raleighs would not have 
lacked good company. The city, with its Rougemont Castle and its ancient 
cathedral, towered both physically and figuratively over the Exe valley. Some nine 
thousand people were crammed into the ninety-three acres within the walls. The 
Raleighs lived near the bishop's Palace Gate, not far from the fashionable High 
Street where most of the city's wealthier merchants had their houses, but actually 
in the parish of St. Mary Major, which sprawled down the hill over one of the 
poorest parts of the city, inhabited by cloth makers and unskilled labourers. They 
will have seen a good deal of both extremes of Exeter society. They will no doubt 
have made common cause with the minority of Exeter citizens who were mil- 
itantly Protestant, including the busy city chamberlain, John Hooker. The elder 
Raleighs died and were buried in Exeter in 1581 and 1594 respectively. 

Only Plymouth approached Exeter in terms of population, but there was a 
handful of other essentially urban communities, notably the twin ports of Barnstaple 
and Bideford in north Devon, both with facilities for large ships, and Totnes and 
Dartmouth on the river Dart in the south. Far more numerous were the country 
towns, basically large villages with a variety of full-time craftsmen, a few 
shopkeepers, and, of course, weekly markets. In east Devon the largest were 
Tiverton, Cullompton, Ottery St. Mary, Honiton, and Axminster, with Bradninch 
and Colyton not far behind, each of them strategically placed, on a busy road, 
usually near a river crossing. Devon was notorious for its number of what were 
only technically boroughs: the population of each of these superficially urbanised 
villages barely reached one thousand, even including the residents of the large 
parishes of which, in terms of acreage, the country towns occupied only a very 
small core. 

Besides these larger country towns there were throughout the country, except 
on Dartmoor, and Exmoor, dozens of villages where about thirty homesteads 
lay tightly clustered together— the word is "nucleated"— some strung out along 
the highway but mostly in a glorious jumble of interlocking tenements, gardens, 
orchards, closes, and alleyways, all under the shadow of a parish church. Although 
in many cases rebuilt in the fifteenth century, a time of generally low population, 
most parish churches could still comfortably accommodate the 150 or so inhabitants 
expected to attend regularly. No one in Raleigh's Devon needed to travel far to 
a church. There were seventeen in the city of Exeter, and elsewhere they ranged 
from the splendid church at Cullompton extended in the 1520s by the munificence 
of John Lane, a local clothier, to the little early medieval church in the middle 
of the fields at Upton Hellions in mid-Devon, or its neighbor at Shobrooke, 
all of them as sentinel then as they are today. 

The parish of Upton Hellions represented a complete contrast to the country 

74 Raleigh and Quinn 

town or nucleated village. Here there was only a scatter of single farms or hamlets, 
the latter mere huddles of three or four farms. Such dispersion was to be found 
not only on the thinner soils of west Devon and on the fringes of Dartmoor 
but also here and there on the rich clays of the river valleys. Thousands of farm- 
houses are still there today, still as isolated as Hayes (or more so), usually tucked 
away in sheltered valley bottoms at the end of long lanes, their inhabitants still 
snug within cob walls and beneath roof timbers heaved into place well before 
Raleigh's day. 

There were in Elizabethan Devon very few landed magnates and, even after 
the dispersal of the former monastic lands, none who really dominated any part 
of the county. The Courtenay family, earls of Devon since the thirteenth century, 
had come nearest to doing so, especially in the Exe valley below their castle at 
Tiverton, their principal residence. But they had ended on the executioner's block 
in 1538 and their political successors, the Russells, later earls of Bedford, though 
endowed by Henry VIII with an estate to match their status, were only occasional 
visitors. They were entirely rentiers and not aggressive landlords. The death of 
the second earl in 1585 leaving as his heir a fourteen-year-old grandson, effectively 
ended their political ascendancy, and indeed put into reverse their accumulation 
of land. Bedford's successor as Lord Lieutenant of Devon, the earl of Bath, possessed 
only a modest estate in the county. Unlike Russell in 1539, neither he, nor his 
opposite number in Cornwall, Sir Walter Raleigh, was provided by the Queen 
with any augmentation of his landed estate. 

By contrast mere gentlemen were fairly thick on the ground, upwards of three 
hundred heads of households by the 1580s, the majority entitled to be called esquire 
Dozens of them lie in uncomfortable but lifelike effigies in parish churches all 
over Devon, as if awaiting to be visited as in their day they visited their many 
relations. Christopher and Christina Chudleigh not only visited her parents, William 
and Ann Stratchley, at Ermington in south Devon but, no doubt because she 
was their sole heiress, are commemorated there although they lived all of twenty-five 
miles away at the Chudleigh's ancient seat in the parish of Ashton. Indeed Christina 
also appears on her parents' fine brass memorial and the eldest Chudleigh boy 
was christened Stratchley. With a name like that he could hardly survive, and 
he died, aged ten, in 1572; only two years after his father. It was his younger 
brother, John, who inherited the substantial addition to the Chudleigh family 
property at William Stratchley's death in 1583, only to dispose of much of it 
to pay for his luckless privateering ventures. He was drowned in the Magellan 
Straits in 1589, but not before, aged only twenty, he had accompanied Sir Walter 
Raleigh to Westminster in 1585 as knight of the shire for Devon. Stratchleys, 
Chudleighs, and Raleighs: they could all present to the visiting heralds authentic 
ancestries stretching back many centuries. 

About a dozen or so of the country's gentlemen at any one time were knights, 
not necessarily on account of their military experience and reputation but selected 

Raleigh's Devon 75 

as those thought best able to serve the Queen as civilian administrators. Indeed 
the knights were not always the wealthiest gentlemen as witness Walter Raleigh 
in 1585. Allowing for absentees, including the considerable number of Devonians 
who followed successful careers as lawyers in London, not all the 450 parishes 
had a gentleman resident. Nor was the territorial scatter at all even. In selecting 
them to be named as JPs the powers-that-be faced considerable difficulties. There 
was always more choice near Exeter than in the vicinity of Plymouth. Only the 
ownership of one or more manors conferred real prestige and while many knights 
and gentlemen were in the feudal sense landlords, others possessed only a scatter 
of small freeholdings from which to derive their cash income. The almost universal 
lack of identity between manor and parish in any case meant that few gentlemen 
had a monopoly of local lordship. Few had had the capital to invest substantially 
in the land market unlocked in the early part of the century by the dissolution 
of the monasteries, but there had been plenty of scope for careful timing of small 
sales and purchases in the interests of rationalisation. 8 Marriage with an heiress, 
or its corollary, death without male heirs, was still the biggest factor in determining 
the pattern of landownership. But some of the Devon gentry were pretty successful 
in rearing at least one son generation after generation. In the Exe valley there 
is still a squire who can trace the ownership of his estate back over seven hundred 
years in the direct male line. His family had already survived for three centuries 
when Raleigh lived, but for all their lineage the Elizabethan Fursdons kept a 
very low profile. Not so the majority of gentlemen, even those of modest substance 
being at pains to advertise their status by building ostentatious gatehouses at the 
approaches to their unpretentious mansions, not to speak of grotesquesly ornate 
fireplaces in their newly ceiled halls. 

But their prime concern was to conserve and if possible augment their ancestral 
estates, to ensure the continuity of their line. Primogeniture was the rule in Devon, 
but gentlemen were under some pressure to endow their younger sons. William 
Amadas of Plymouth (calling himself merely "gentleman" although his father, 
John Amadas, had bequeathed to his younger son a silver-gilt goblet bearing the 
family arms) died in 1561 possessed of a considerable amount of property in and 
around Plymouth and Tavistock. He left all the land he had purchased, including 
the former Carmelite or White Friary near the waterfront in Plymouth, to be 
equally divided among his four sons. His eldest, John, who alone inherited the 
ancestral land, was only eighteen and a half years old. The Amadases did not 
make old bones and when John died, aged thirty-nine, in 1581, but not before 
he had been mayor of Plymouth in 1574-75, he left everything to his widow 
Jane for her lifetime, though naming Philip, the eldest of his three sons, aged 
only sixteen, as his sole heir. How long Mrs. Amadas lived I have not yet been 
able to discover— she almost certainly married again into the Plymouth civic 
establishment— but Philip will not be unknown to North Carolinians as the ship's 
captain, still only nineteen, who came with Arthur Barlow to these shores in 1584. 

76 Raleigh and Quinn 

Although the earlier John Amadas, Philip's great-grandfather, who lived in 
Tavistock, referred to William Hawkins of Plymouth as his "cousin," it is clear 
that Amadases had been gentlemen when Hawkinses, and certainly Drakes, had 
been mere tradesmen and farmers. As one reads their wills something not only 
of their lifestyle but also of the changes which only a decade or two had wrought 
in their lives comes across the centuries. John of Tavistock, when he made his 
will in 1546, although, like all good Protestants, he committed his soul to God 
alone, made provision for an elaborate and conventional funeral, and for the 
distribution of an enormous number of doles to the poor of a circle of parishes 
in both Devon and Cornwall. One of his many bequests was that of his furred 
black camlet gown, his best tawney satin doublet, a feather bed with bolster, 
pillow, and a pair of sheets to his stepson William Trevesper, who also got a 
cow. John's own younger son, Robert, was to be kept at school until he had 
mastered his grammar and the Latin tongue and was then to proceed to such 
other "science" as should be thought by the executors meet for his living. When 
William (Robert's elder brother) made his will in 1553, though fortunately in 
view of his very definite commitment to Protestantism he did not die until 1561, 
he provided for the reading, in an audible voice, on the Sunday following his 
death, of the homily of the salvation of mankind by Christ alone. He nevertheless 
left money for a "competent dinner" for the Mayor and Council of Plymouth, 
to be followed a week later by a "drinking" for the common people. Nor were 
the poor of Plymouth forgotten, but he had clearly established himself as a town 
gentleman and there were no doubt others like him in the port. Young Philip 
came of no mean parentage in any sense of the term. 9 

As active farmers there was little to distinguish gentlemen from yeomen, except 
that the former, if they could afford to do so, employed bailiffs, and were addressed 
as "Master" rather than simply by their forenames. But yeomen were far more 
numerous than gentlemen, there being usually around a dozen of them in any 
large parish, "manuring," that is cultivating, upwards of fifty acres of arable land, 
besides keeping stock. 10 They were the main suppliers of the urban markets — 
and hence the principal targets of popular and official displeasure when poor harvests 
sent the price of their grain rocketing. They nourished, it was said, no envy of 
the gentlemen, to whom they were often economically superior, having fewer 
expenses and, unless in a village without gentlemen, fewer public responsibilities. 
They were the greatest buyers of long leases. 

The investigation of surviving Devon yeomen's farmhouses, both those in 
nucleated villages and those in hamlets or in complete isolation, has progressed 
a long way archaeologically in the last thirty years or so. But the identification 
of their owners or occupiers lags way behind. 11 There is, for example, a house 
called Boycombe in the parish of Farway in east Devon, still today in its setting 
very much the farmhouse. Even its basic layout is like that of the typical farm, 
with a cross passage more than halfway down the slope. But its detailed fabric 

Raleigh's Devon 


Sanders, Lettaford, in the parish of North Bovey, Devon, is pictured at top. Bottom 
photograph shows the shippen at the lower end of the building with its original cen- 
tral drain. Both photos by the author. 


Raleigh and Quinn 



Parts of the "barton" below the parish church of Shobrooke date from the sixteenth 
century. The large yard below the farmhouse is enclosed by "linhays," solid cob exter- 
nally and open fronted on the inside. At bottom is the town of Plymouth about 1540. 
British Library, Cotton MSS, Augustus I i, 35-9, from engraving in D. and S. Lysons, 
Topographical and Historical Account of Devonshire (London: 1822). Both photos furnished 
by the author. 

Raleigh's Devon 79 

has certain unmistakeable refinements, the external worked stone, the upper storeys, 
the upstairs fireplaces, and the neat and extraordinarily sanitary gardrobes. If it 
had been the residence of a gentleman we should almost certainly know his identity. 
Was it perhaps the unusually sophisticated house of a yeoman farmer? Compare 
this with another stone house, a traditional "long house" on the fringes of 
Dartmoor. Sanders, at Lettaford, a hamlet in North Bovey, also has a cross passage, 
and on the lower side there still survives intact the shippen for the stock. Across 
the passage is the family's accommodation, each side helping no doubt to keep 
the other warm. The upper storey was not added until the seventeenth century. 
Its survival is a miracle, but whether it was originally built in the early sixteenth 
century as a yeoman's house or, as it later became, that of a modest husbandman, 
we still have to find out. 12 

Building materials varied, of course, according to what was most readily available 
locally. In east Devon there was an ample supply of flint, and near Dartmoor 
plenty of granite, but on the clay soils elsewhere everything was of cob, that 
is, earth bound by straw, and, if available, hair, always, however, set on stone 
footings. Cob produces timeless walls, very difficult to date: hence the importance 
of roof timbers. Equally suitable for small homesteads or large mansions, it could 
also be used for really large buildings such as the great linhays or open-fronted 
barns arcaded around vast internal yards, which gave, and still give, so many large 
Devon farmhouses the outward look of fortresses. 

By and large Elizabethan farming in Devon was on a small scale. Why this 
should be is difficult to explain except in terms of the natural inertia of Devonians. 
Even the plentiful supply of good pasture did not produce large-scale graziers. 
The Spencers of the Midlands or the Bacons of East Anglia had no counterparts 
in Devon. There was indeed little scope for agrarian aggression. Open fields, 
that is, strip patterns, with or without communal management, were not 
unknown, especially in those parishes with large nucleated settlement, but much 
land which had earlier been open fields had been peaceably enclosed long before 
1500 and far more had been enclosed from the beginning. The correlation with 
scattered farms is, of course, very close. The enclosed fields of Devon were, and 
to a large extent still are, bounded by massive hedgebanks, many feet high and 
wide. Until the advent of Dutch elm disease, most were topped by great timber 
trees, and until modern machinery took its toll, by much sapling growth. Main 
roads and lanes were not only banked on either side, but being rarely level for 
any distance, soil and traffic combined to reduce them to the narrow hollow 
ways still very typical of Devon's more remote countryside. 13 

Farming practice in Elizabethan Devon was, however, by contemporary 
standards, advanced. Sand and seaweed were widely used for dressing the soil— and 
indeed the former carried long distances — and also a technique known as 
"De[vo]nshiring." This entailed paring off a thin layer of turf, leaving it to dry, 
burning it in heaps and finally spreading the ashes. John Hooker of Exeter, writing 

80 Raleigh and Quinn 

in about 1600, not only admired the ditches which the Devon farmers dug, 
both for drainage and irrigation, but he also described how the country people 
"dress, prune and trim" their apple trees "by opening the roots, by paring away 
the watery [weak] boughs and by grafting." He commended enclosure which, 
he said, promoted the growth of valuable timber and also enabled stock to be 
moved at appropriate intervals to "new springing grass." 14 

There was still much "waste," that is, land not yet "manured" but better 
than mere upland grazing, some of it in fact used for the growing of gorse 
for fuel. "Outfield" was occasionally made to yield a crop or two, and in most 
parishes there were still possibilities of adding permanent "intakes" to the "infield." 
On the large manor of Hartfield in northwest Devon in 1566 hardly more than 
half the land was cultivated as compared with the situation in 1842. On Dartmoor 
the occupiers of the "ancient tenements" were allowed by the Duchy of Cornwall, 
at each change of tenancy, to take an extra eight acres, but in 1600 it was reported 
that new tenants usually took possession of far more, calling it "forest measure"! 
In theory everyone in Devon, except the inhabitants of Barnstaple and Totnes, 
could for a modest payment put animals on Dartmoor, and we hear no complaints 
(as we do today) of overstocking. 15 

For all that, and allowing for the fact that large parts of Devon, especially 
Dartmoor, were uninhabitable, the county was, by national standards, heavily 
populated. A map showing the number of householders assessed for tax in the 
early sixteenth century shows that the valleys of the Exe and its tributaries, 
and also of the rivers Teign and Dart, and the great southern wedge known 
as the South Hams, were among the most densely populated parts of England, 
with over twenty households to the square mile. 16 Since then, in Devon as 
throughout England, population had risen substantially and whether as a result 
there were more or only larger households, by the mid-1580s there may well 
have been some young men over whom loomed the possibility of being without 
regular employment, and young women waiting impatiently for marriage. The 
price of food, too, although erratic, was moving steadily upwards. In the 1590s 
wheat prices in Exeter averaged over thirty shillings per quarter compared with 
under twenty in the 1560s. By comparison wages had hardly moved, the 
maximum permissible for non-resident farm labourers from 6d. to 8d. a day 
without food and drink in 1564 to 7d. to 8d. in 1594. Even harvest rates had 
risen from lOd. to only 12d. Living-in bailiffs, however, had progressed from 
40s. a year to 53s.4d. 17 There are no quarter sessions records for Devon until 
the 1590s, but even then the magistrates seem to have been chiefly occupied 
in sorting out claims for relief from wounded soldiers and sailors. The only 
serious case of riot seems to have emanated from the household of the earl of 
Bath, the Lord Lieutenant. Earlier the county had sent as many as possible of 
its rogues and vagabonds to Ireland: now it was Brittany. 

Unemployment, or what was equally serious, underemployment, was probably 

Raleigh's Devon 81 

never a major problem in Devon. Even for those with minimal land, there had 
always been ample opportunities for supplementing income by part-time or 
seasonal industrial occupations. In terms of numbers employed, the most important 
was the manufacture of woollen cloth, in particular spinning, which was almost 
entirely a rural occupation. There were weavers and fullers who were full-time, 
but they were usually to be found in the larger villages and country towns, 
and of course in Exeter. Most clothmakers, whether full- or part-time, were 
self-employed, buying and selling from week to week in the multiplicity of 
markets all over Devon. As in farming so in cloth-making there were few 
entrepreneurs, except for the merchant exporters. Devon specialised in kerseys, 
usually called "dozens" because they were half the standard length and breadth. 
Tools such as the teasel-frame and cloth shears appear on many early-sixteenth 
century bench ends, including those at East Budleigh, and there is a pair of 
shears to be seen, clasped by an angel, in the Lane aisle at Cullompton. 

Next in importance numerically were the tinners, also largely part-time, but 
in their case seasonal workers. Tin was only to be found on Dartmoor and the 
working tinners would leave their valley farms and live in rough dug-outs near 
the mines and blowing houses. By the late sixteenth century the industry had 
passed its peak but the highly privileged tinners, gentlemen employers as well 
as labouring men, were not easily discouraged. Profits were modest, except for 
those of the tin merchants, but presumably sufficient to make the incredibly 
hard living conditions worthwhile. 18 Raleigh claimed that, as Lord Warden of 
the Stannaries, he had increased the working tinners' livelihood. He also persuaded 
many of them to go to Ireland. 

Devon's fourth "commodity," to use John Hooker's term, was the sea which 
lapped, and ofter battered, the county's long coastline, both north and south. 
A survey made in 1560 credits Devon, without Exeter, not only with more 
ships of 100 tons and over than anywhere else except London, but with 1,268 
mariners — that is, men skilled in their handling. This does not sound many 
but even then it was over one sixth of the total in the whole of England. Another 
survey of 1583, this time excluding Plymouth and Dartmouth, puts the whole 
number at 2,016, plus 150 master mariners. 19 Probably as many again were 
fishermen, using only rowing boats. The principal catch in coastal waters, 
especially west of Start Point, was pilchards, of which sufficient were brought 
into Plymouth in the 1590s to be worth taxing to pay for the town's defences. 
But the really spectacular maritime growth point, the one which probably went 
furthest to mop up Devon's surplus manpower, was the annual voyage to the 
Newfoundland Banks for cod. Here, both in terms of total catch and of number 
of ships and seamen involved, Dartmouth probably had the edge over Plymouth. 
Far more seamen were involved (and in the process learned to sail in deep waters 
out of sight of land) than were ever engaged in privateering. Most of the catch 
was brought over dried and sold directly to the largely Catholic continent of 
Europe. 20 

82 Raleigh and Quinn 

This again was a seasonal occupation, which may explain why the seamen 
were principally resident, not in either Plymouth or Dartmouth but spread along 
the coastal parishes and in some cases some way inland. A survey made in 1570 
locates the largest number, 123, in the parish of Stokenham which, although 
it has several miles of coastline had no haven suitable for anything but small 
fishing boats. Seamen from this area adjacent to the strip of sandbank and 
freshwater lagoon known as Slapton Ley will have felt very much at home on 
the Outer Banks, though no doubt awed by the latter's extent. To return to 
seamen and their homes, Plymouth, even with its neighbours, Stonehouse and 
Saltash, produced in 1570 only 122. Salcombe, with its splendid estuarine harbour, 
was home for 56 mariners but there were also 55 in Blackawton to the east, 
which had a very tenuous connection with the sea. The inclusion in the 1583 
survey of 24 named ships' masters living in Kenton, and ten in Topsham, reminds 
us of the continuing importance of the Exe estuary. Lympstone, the reputed 
birthplace of Ralph Lane, had four masters and 22 others who were either 
mariners or fishermen. In north Devon the greatest comcentration of masters 
was not in Barnstaple or Bideford, each with six, but in Northam, the large 
parish at the meeting of the rivers Taw and Torridge, which contained the growing 
maritime community of Appledore. 21 

Two decades later Clovelly, for long only a cliff-top village to the west of 
Barnstaple Bay, would no doubt have produced more than the three mariners 
noted in 1583, and certainly more fishermen, for by then the local landlord, 
George Cary, at his own expense, some £2,000 according to his will, had built 
the quay and harbour which still serves its original commercial purpose as well 
as providing a promenade for summer visitors. 22 Cary's fish cellars and his tenants' 
stout little stone cottages still cling to the steep hillside on either side of the 
cobbled street. Clovelly, he claimed, was no longer a place of no importance. 
He had married, incidentally, the widow of John Chudleigh. 

Efforts to develop havens on the coast of east Devon, though strenuously 
pursued, were not so successful. Here the problem was to undo the late-medieval 
silting up of the narrow inlets. Sandbanks were a problem at Plymouth, too, 
before the building of the Breakwater, and also in Barnstaple Bay, where they 
still are, but in both cases they were passable at high tide. Energetic efforts were 
made by the men of the small inland town of Colyton in the 1570s to raise 
money, in their case to excavate the former upper estuary of the river Axe. They 
were sufficiently percipient not only to have noticed but to draw to the Queen's 
attention the fact that "sundry anchors and ships' timbers [are] daily found in 
the land, meadows and marshes thereabout." The Queen not only agreed to 
recommend all her clergy to mention Colyton's project to "wealthy persons 
in time of sickness" but sanctioned the compulsory purchase of stone and timber 
and the impressment of workmen, the latter hardly suggesting that there was 
much local unemployment. Within two years there are hints that some of the 

Raleigh's Devon 83 

money raised had disappeared before it reached Colyton, and the work itself 
was probably never started. 23 

But in Raleigh's very own country efforts to reopen the river Otter to shipping 
had a longer history. Richard Duke had already been attempting something 
in the 1540s, but presumably to no effect for a splendid map in the British 
Library must be part of a later attempt to interest Lord Burghley. 24 This depicts 
the Devon and Dorset coast from Dartmouth to Portland with a great expanse 
of deep water inside the mouth of the Otter below the twin village of East 
Budleigh and Otterton which the promoters promised would be "very good 
for savegarde of shippes." Entry was to be between two projecting piers and 
the introduction of elaborate compass bearings was possibly intended to suggest 
that this was the centre of the universe. Whether Raleigh's support was ever 
sought or given is not recorded, but the dream of a new Otterton haven was 
never realised. 

Some initiatives, however fruitless, do at least indicate a growing interest in 
developing the county's maritime potential. They need to be viewed against 
the background on the one hand of conventional coastal and overseas trade and, 
of course, on the other of privateering and even of piracy. In north Devon all 
four of them were deliberately and inextricably complementary. At Exeter the 
emphasis was on the longstanding legitimate and safe trade with France, while 
the men of Plymouth and Dartmouth, especially the former, were far more 
adventurous. Plymouth owed much to the Hawkins dynasty, which had, of 
course, an abiding interest in legitimate overseas trade, but when the trade of 
the Devon ports in the late sixteenth century has been fully investigated it may 
emerge that substantial fortunes were made by those who have not yet attracted 
the limelight. As for privateering, it is only too obvious from the Roanoke 
story what a large part was played by the insatiable appetite for prizes in the 
failure to sustain the colony. How are we to explain why Raleigh and some 
at least of his fellow Devonians, normally civilised and law-abiding at home, 
content with a modest income and what luxuries it would buy, regarded the 
oceans not as common land where all could work their own passage in peace 
and harmony, but as a sort of waste which all could plunder? Privateering, and 
indeed naked piracy, was for too long the expensive sport of gentlemen. Few 
made it pay. With the notable exception of Buckland Abbey, there is scant material 
evidence of their success in Devon's heritage today. 

84 Raleigh and Quinn 


* Introducing Joyce Youings, John D. Neville, executive director of America's Four Hundredth 
Anniversary, said: "This afternoon we continue our look at Sir Walter Raleigh through two 
papers about areas important to him. Our first paper, 'Raleigh's Devon,' is by a fellow Devonian, 
Joyce Youings, a native of Barnstaple on the northwestern coast of the county. There she attended 
Barnstaple Girls' Grammar School. She then earned her bachelor's and doctoral degrees from 
the University of London. For many years she has been professor of English social history at 
the University of Exeter; she has also been a visiting professor in New Zealand universities 
and at the University of Kansas. The author of Devon Monastic Lands (1955), Tuckers Hall Exeter 
(1968), The Dissolution of Monasteries (1971), and Sixteenth Century England (1984), Dr. Youings 
also wrote for America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee the booklet, Ralegh's Country: 
The South West of England in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1986). A year earlier, she organized 
the Raleigh conference at her university and published the papers under the title Raleigh in 
Exeter 1985: Privateering and Colonisation in the Reign of Elizabeth I. 

"Professor Youings is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and serves as, or has served 
as, president of the Devon History Society, president of the Devon and Exeter Institution, chair- 
man of the Council of the Devonshire Association, co-director of the Leverhulme Research 
Project on the maritime history of Devon, and since 1953 has been honorary general editor 
of the Devon and Cornwall Record Society." 

1 T.N. Brushfield, "Raleghana," Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 28 (1896): 274-76. 

2 AJ. Howard and T. L. Stoate, Devon Muster Roll for 1569 (Almondsbury, Bristol: 1977), 
pp. 3-13. 

3 Devon Record Office, Rolle MSS, 96/M/32/10. 

4 For details see Joyce Youings, Ralegh's Country: The South West of England in the Reign of 
Queen Elizabeth I (Raleigh: 1986) pp. 1-2. 

5 Public Record Office, Wills, PROB 11/69/19. 

6 M.M. Rowe and A. Jackson (editors), Exeter Freeman 1266-1967 (Exeter: Devon and Cornwall 
Record Society, Extra Series I, 1973), p. 81. 

7 Howard and Stoate, op. cit., pp. 9, 234. 

8 J.A. Youings, Devon Monastic Lands (Exeter: Devon and Cornwall Record Society, New Series 
I, 1954), pp. xx-xxix. 

'Public Record Office, Chancery, Inquisitions Post Mortem, C 142/135/126; 201/79, and 
Wills, PROB 11/37/31 and 44/35. The discovery that John Amadas was mayor of Plymouth 
I owe to Peter Cornford. 

10 M. Campbell, The English Yeomen (New Haven: 1942), which draws a good deal on Devon 
evidence, was a pioneer work of its time, but a new book on the subject is badly needed. 

n The best work on the subject is M. W. Barley, The English Farmhouse and Cottage (London: 

12 N.W. Alcock, PC. Child, and J.M.W Laithwaite, "Sanders, Lettaford: a Devon Longhouse," 
Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society, 30 (1972): 227-33. 

13 Almost everything that can be said about the history of the Devon landscape derives from 
the pioneering work of W. G Hoskins, especially his Devon (London: 1954 and 1972). 

14 John Hooker, "Synopsis Chorographical of Devonshire," British Library, Harl. MS 5827, 
fo. 8. 

15 H.S.A. Fox, "Outfield Cultivation in Devon and Cornwall," in M. Havinden (editor), Hus- 
bandry and Marketing in the South West (Exeter: 1973), and M. Havinden and Freda Wilkinson, 
"Farming," in Crispin Gill (editor), Dartmoor (Newton Abbey: 1970), pp. 139-82. 

16 J. Sheaill, "The Distribution of Taxable Population and Wealth in England during the Early 
Sixteenth Century," Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 55 (1972): 119. 

Raleigh's Devon 85 

17 W.G. Hoskins and H.P.R. Finberg, Devonshire Studies [a collection of essays], (London: 
1952): 420-21. 

18 For a brief account with references, see Joyce Youings, Ralegh's Country, chapter IV. 

19 Public Record Office, SP 12/11/27; 156/45. 

20 H.A. Innis, The Cod Fisheries (Toronto: 1954). 

21 Public Record Office, SP 12/71/75; 156/45. 

"Public Record Office, PROB 11/100/40. 

23 P.L. Hughes and J.F. Larkin, Tudor Royal Proclamations (New Haven and London: 1964-69), 
pp. 387-89. 

24 British Library, Royal MSS, 18 D III, fos. 9v.-10. 


Raleigh and Quinn 

John D. Neville (top), director of America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee, 
introduced Joyce Youings (bottom right) and Nicholas Canny. They spoke respectively 
on "Raleigh's Devon" and "Raleigh's Ireland." 

Raleigh's Ireland 

Nicholas Canny* 

Walter Raleigh had dealings with Ireland at three separate junctures in his 
career. His first direct association with Ireland was as a soldier- adventurer during 
the years 1580-82; his second association, which spanned the years 1586-1602, 
was related to his attempt to establish himself as a proprietor in the plantation 
of Munster; and his third association occurred in 1617 when he was desperately 
attempting to finance his last Guiana expedition. 

Insofar as Raleigh's engagement in 1580 with the interminable Elizabethan 
wars in Ireland evinces any surprise, it is because he had not become involved 
there at an earlier stage. Most English gentlemen adventurers of his generation 
who wished to make a career or reputation for themselves had found their way 
to Ireland before 1580, and Raleigh's close relatives Humphrey Gilbert, Richard 
Grenville, and Peter Carew had been prominently involved in Irish military affairs 
since the mid-15605. 1 The fact that Raleigh had not joined his relatives when 
they first went to Ireland was probably explained by his youth (he was only 
eleven in 1565), and his absence from there provided him with the opportunity 
to become briefly involved with the French wars of religion and to further advance 
his education at Oriel College and the Middle Temple as well as in a privateering 
venture of 1578. 2 Such a varied training and experience was quite typical of 
those English captains who had preceded him to Ireland, and Raleigh might 
be said to have been rounding off his education as a soldier adventurer while 
at the same time he was becoming involved in a fresh theatre of activity which 
some hoped would provide the opportunity of fame and fortune for the 

This portrayal of Raleigh's motivation when he did go to Ireland in 1580 
indicates that he, like so many other younger sons who had preceded him there, 3 
was grasping about for any employment that might eventually lead to his eleva- 
tion to a social position appropriate to his birth and education. Military employ- 
ment in itself was unlikely to lead to this elevation, but the successful conduct 
of a campaign could bring a captain to the attention of his superiors which, 
in turn, might lead to his being appointed to a permanent position on the civil 
or military establishment. This would have meant being put in charge of a 
permanent garrison in one of the outlying provinces or being placed in a quasi- 
civil position on one of the provincial councils that had recently been estab- 
lished in Ireland. 4 Successful service in the provinces could then lead to advance- 
ment to a senior office in the Dublin administration, and it always placed one 
in a position to identify and advance claim to any property in the provinces 
to which Crown title might be established. 5 It was necessary that one should 

Raleigh and Quinn 

be appropriately qualified before one was thus favored but it was even more 
important that one should enjoy the support of those who were in a position 
to dispense patronage. This was the case because there were always more qual- 
ified candidates than there were positions to be filled in the permanent establish- 
ment and the honors went invariably to those who were best connected. We 
can take it that Raleigh was seeking to establish just such a connection when 
he hung about the Court in the months before his departure for Ireland in July 
1580, and the patron that he then found was Arthur Lord Grey de Wilton 6 
who had been appointed to serve as lord deputy of Ireland and who was assigned 
to deal with the rebellion that had recently broken out in Munster and that 
threatened the very security of the state in Dublin. 

Lord Grey was as suitable a patron for Raleigh as he was a suitable client 
for the nobleman. They were both fervent Protestants who were enthusiastically 
in favor of resisting the threat of Catholicism whether it presented itself at sea 
or on land, whether on the Continent or in Ireland. Moreover, Grey had been 
selected for appointment in Ireland only after the position of governor there 
had been declined by Sir Henry Sidney and after he had taken advice from Sidney 
on what policies to pursue there. 7 This meant that those clients of Sidney who 
already served in Ireland, including Raleigh's own kinsmen, would enjoy the 
favor of Lord Grey as they had enjoyed that of Sidney who had brought them 
to the country during his first period of government in Dublin. 8 And most 
important of all, Grey was given the command of an army of 8,000 men, a 
force far in excess of that commanded by Sidney, and a force that was considered 
sufficient both to suppress the current revolt and to prepare the way for a compre- 
hensive scheme of colonization such as had been adumbrated by Sidney when, 
during the years 1569-71, Ireland had also been disturbed by revolt. 9 

It seemed therefore that Raleigh had been particularly fortunate in winning 
appointment as a captain under Lord Grey. The possibility that a comprehensive 
reform of Ireland would be undertaken by this force seemed even better in 1581 
because by then a second revolt had erupted in Ireland this time under the leader- 
ship of James Eustace, Viscount Baltinglass. 10 Lord Baltinglass was a landowner 
of Anglo-Norman descent who held his property within the English Pale, which 
was the most anglicized part of Ireland incorporating most of the four counties 
closest to the city of Dublin. Political and social grievance contributed to the 
dissatisfaction that led to revolt but the reason that was articulated by Baltinglass 
was that he could no longer owe allegiance to a monarch who had been excom- 
municated by the Pope. His call did not, as it happened, evoke much response 
within the Pale, and his action became dangerous only when he joined forces 
with some Gaelic chieftains of the mountainous region south of Dublin. None- 
theless, the revolt of Baltinglass, coinciding as it did with that of the earl of 
Desmond in Munster, presented the serving English officials and captains in 
Ireland with the opportunity to impress upon the Queen that only convinced 

Raleigh's Ireland 89 

Protestants born in England should be entrusted with positions of responsibility 
in Ireland. 11 Then, it was argued, with reliable people in place it would be 
possible to proceed with a systematic course of action that would bring the 
Gaelic Irish from their erstwhile barbarism to an acceptance of civility, and that 
would bring all elements of the Irish population into conformity with the 
Protestant state religion. 

Those who argued this case with the Queen were conscious that extensive 
confiscation of property was likely to result from the rebellions that had occurred, 
and they wanted to make sure that these lands would be assigned to some of 
themselves. There were none more conscious of the possibilities than Raleigh's 
kinsmen who were already stationed in Munster, and Raleigh quickly made 
his way to the Munster theatre of action so that he could join with them in 
the conduct of a war they hoped would lead to their own enrichment. Raleigh 
was no sooner there than he identified Thomas Butler, earl of Ormond, as the 
person most likely to frustrate these ambitions, and Raleigh comes to our atten- 
tion in the documents principally when he is engaged upon an assault against 
the person of Ormond. 12 

This earl was, like the earl of Desmond and Viscount Baltinglass, of Anglo- 
Norman descent and he held enormous estates in the northeastern part of Mun- 
ster as well as in south Leinster. Unlike the rebelling lords, however, Ormond 
was a Protestant, he was a cousin of Queen Elizabeth through the Boleyn family 
and he had spent most of his early years at Court before retiring to his family 
estates in 1569. Moreover he was an inveterate foe of the earl of Desmond, 
despite the fact that Desmond was married to his widowed mother, and he 
had been given responsibility by the Queen to bring Desmond and his adherents 
to justice. In accepting appointment as Lord General of the government forces 
in Munster, Ormond was determined that no quarter should be given to Desmond 
or his immediate relatives, but he did favor the offer of pardon to the less promi- 
nent confederates, and he hoped to win support from the quiescent landowners 
in Munster by suggesting that they would become the beneficiaries of the confisca- 
tion of the Desmond family estates. 13 

The adoption by the Queen of this advice would have put paid to whatever 
hopes the English captains and officials might have fostered of profiting from 
the war in Ireland. It was for this reason that a vendetta against Ormond had 
been organized before Raleigh's arrival in the province and why he, together 
with all other English captains and officials in Munster, stood firmly behind 
Lord Grey when he moved into the province with his fresh army to take over 
the military command from Ormond. The war that was now waged was a 
total war, aimed at bringing a quick conclusion to the revolt by the elimination 
of the Catholic expeditionary force of 600 men that had been sent from the 
Continent in support of the rebels and by the forced unconditional surrender 
of all native landowners who were known to be involved in the rebellion. 14 

90 Raleigh and Quinn 

The first of these objectives was attained when the continental force was tracked 
down in its fortified position at Smerwick on the Atlantic coast of the south- 
west. Once a surrender had been forced the garrison was put to the sword, 
and Raleigh and his company were particularly energetic in that bloody enter- 
prise. 15 Then he and his fellow captains, under the command of Lord Grey, 
devoted their attention to the local rebels, and each captain was assigned control 
over a particular area of the province while Grey himself returned to Dublin. 
The area assigned to Raleigh's control was the fertile area to the south and east 
of Cork city, and Raleigh, like his associates, was not only determined to over- 
throw those who were in actual rebellion but was also anxious to arrest those 
native landowners whom they suspected of being sympathetic towards the rebels. 
The particular target of Raleigh's attack was Lord David Barry of Barryscourt, 
whose castle and lands he coveted, and it was certainly Raleigh's ill-concealed 
animosity towards Barry which forced the latter into open rebellion. 16 What 
occurred in this instance occurred elsewhere throughout the province so that 
the scope of the Munster rebellion was increasing rather than contracting as 
the winter of 1580-81 proceeded. This was as the English captains of the province 
would have wished it because they were fully confident of the support of Lord 
Grey in their endeavors, and they were convinced that only persistence with 
their scheme would lead to a lasting settlement of the province. 

What these soldier-adventurers did not count on was the determination of 
Ormond to oppose their efforts and his continued influence with the Queen. 
It was Ormond who championed the cause of David Barry against the intrusions 
of Raleigh upon his property, and it was Ormond who now contended that 
it was Grey's unwillingness to accept any of the rebels to mercy which explained 
why the conflict in Munster was becoming too prolonged and expensive for 
the Crown to bear. Furthermore, he, as well as some of the supporters in the 
Pale, criticized the bloody methods that were being employed by Lord Grey 
and his subordinates and suggested that these reflected poorly upon the Queen's 
cherished reputation as a clement ruler. 17 

Such arguments made a deep impression upon the Queen, especially when 
they were combined with charges of dishonesty. These latter were advanced 
by some Old English officials in the Pale who contended that the land which 
had come into Crown possession following the overthrow of the Leinster rebel- 
lion had been disposed of by Grey to a small group of personal followers and 
at rents prejudicial to the Crown's interests. 18 Queen Elizabeth harkened to these 
charges, and Grey was duly recalled in disgrace in August 1582, and Ormond 
was restored to command of the military enterprise. 19 

This turn of events proved devastating for those English captians and officials 
who had pinned their hopes on Lord Grey being able to proceed with a consis- 
tent policy. They had further reason to be alarmed when they saw much of 
the land in Munster which might have been declared forfeit to the Crown be- 

Raleigh's Ireland 91 

ing frittered away by Ormond who, they believed, proved excessively generous 
in granting pardon to the lesser rebels. Their hopes for a coherent plantation 
in Munster, which would advance the cause of civility while enriching themselves, 
were also set back by Ormond's insistence that the "English by blood" (by 
which he meant the Old English population of Ireland) should receive equal 
consideration with the "English by birth" when the land of the outstanding 
rebels came to be confiscated. 20 This wish of Ormond was in fact not followed 
and Ormond himself was the only member of the Old English community 
to benefit directly from the confiscation of property in Munster. However, the 
death in rebellion of the earl of Desmond in the winter of 1583 did prove anti- 
climactic for those who had endured the travails of war on the Crown's behalf 
because the decision was then taken to have a committee in London, rather 
than in Dublin or Munster, deal with the disposition of the forfeited property. 21 
Such a committee could be counted on to favor those who were well connected 
at Court over those who had served in Ireland. The frustration of the latter 
group was put most effectively by Geoffrey Fenton, a consistent advocate of 
plantation, who had been so confident of a grant of some of Desmond's estates 
in North Kerry that he had brought "tenants and cattle out of England" to 
populate and stock the property. All to no avail, however, because the lands 
on which Fenton had set his sights were granted to the English courtier Denzil 
Holies, and Fenton's six or seven years of service "spent in the suppression of 
that rebellion" were completely disregarded. 22 

This outcome had apparently been anticipated by Walter Raleigh even before 
the forced resignation of Lord Grey, and Raleigh had abandoned Ireland in fury 
once his claims on Barry's land had been denied him because of Ormond's 
obstruction. His early departure from Ireland placed Raleigh in a position to 
offer advice at Court when the subject of Ireland came under discussion among 
those who had to adjudicate between the strategies favored respectively by Ormond 
and Lord Grey. The fact that Grey was dismissed in 1582 indicates that Raleigh's 
advice was ineffectual, but the occasion which he then had to attend at Court 
on official business also presented him with the opportunity to bring himself 
to the attention of the Queen and her closest advisers. The eagerness with which 
Raleigh seized on this opportunity is legendary, and the favor which he then 
found with Queen Elizabeth suddenly and permanently changed the course of 
his career. "True it is," averred one contemporary, "he had gotten the queen's 
ear in a trice; and she began to be taken with his elocution, and loved to hear 
his reasons to her demands; and truth is, she took him for a kind of oracle, 
which nettled them all; yea those that he relied on began to take this his sudden 
favour for an alarm, and to be sensible of their own supplantation." 23 

The ones who appeared most nettled were Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, 
and Sir Christopher Hatton, whose clients Raleigh and his associates in Ireland 
had previously been. But while losing their support he had acquired that of 

92 Raleigh and Quinn 

the Queen and it was through her munificence that Raleigh was appointed to 
a series of positions that provided him with a regular income and enabled him 
to become the maker of his own fortune. Furthermore, he was now able to 
remain in virtual permanent residence at court and in close proximity to the 
Queen, and was thus able to look out for his own interest whenever patronage 
came within the Queen's gift. The new interests which Raleigh then developed, 
including his heavy involvement with the Roanoke expedition, meant that Ire- 
land faded from his mind, but an interest quickly revived in 1585 when plans 
were afoot to establish a formal plantation on the confiscated property of the 
deceased earl of Desmond. 

We now know from the research of recent scholars, led by our honored David 
Quinn, that this scheme of plantation in Munster was worked out on paper 
in advance like no previous English plantation effort had been. This advance 
planning was done primarily by Lord Burghley and Sir Francis Walsingham 
together with Thomas Egerton, the English solicitor general, and Sir Chris- 
topher Hatton, the English lord chancellor. These had decided that the con- 
fiscated estates should be divided up into twenty seignories each of 12,000 English 
acres and that grants of these blocks of land should be confined to English men 
of substance who had the resources necessary for the development of their estates. 
To facilitate the plantation effort it was required of the lord deputy in Dublin, 
who was now Sir John Perrott, that he should have a bill passed through the 
Irish parliament declaring Desmond's estates to be forfeited to the Crown. At 
the same time, three skilled men were appointed to survey the confiscated prop- 
erty and plot out a plantation on paper. 24 

Scarcity of manpower and shortage of time explain why this preliminary work 
was never completed. However, the organizers of the plantation made their task 
easier for themselves by drawing upon the project for a plantation in Munster 
that had been devised over a decade earlier by a group of adventurers from the 
English west country and which had since lain dormant among the papers of 
Lord Burghley. 25 The ideas contained in that project were now given official 
form when it was stipulated that those who undertook to plant these several 
blocks of 12,000 acres should each accept responsibility for placing six freeholders, 
six farmers, forty-two copyholders, and thirty cottagers on the seignory by the 
end of seven years. The estate itself was to be held in common soccage from 
the crown in return for an annual rent which ranged from £200 per seignory 
in County Kerry to £66-13s-4d per seignory in County Cork. The freeholders 
were to be given grants in fee simple from the principal undertakers to whom 
they would pay a specified rent, and they in turn were to be obliged to introduce 
farmers, copyholders, and cottagers on their estates. All were prohibited from 
accepting Irish tenants on their estates, and stringent conditions were laid down 
in relation to the construction of defensible buildings, the pursuit of English-style 
agriculture, and the maintenance of trained men and weapons to provide for 

Raleigh's Ireland 93 

their security. What was envisaged therefore in the formal plantation conditions 
of the 1580s, as in the project of 1569-71, was the erection of a self-sufficient 
English community comprised of six nucleated settlements on each seignory 
of land. Moreover, we can assume that the designers of the 1585 scheme were 
guided by their predecessors into thinking that this English community would 
flourish through the efficient cultivation of the land after the most advanced 
English fashion; through the exploitation of the natural produce of the country 
such as timber and fish; through the introduction of new experimental crops 
such as woad and madder which were considered wasteful of good tillage land 
in England; and through the development of manufacturing employment that 
was related to these agricultural products. 26 

There is nothing to suggest that Walter Raleigh played any part in the 
formulation of this scheme for plantation in Munster, and we can take it that 
he did not do so because he was preoccupied with the Roanoke expedition when 
the scheme was being devised. He was, however, keenly aware of the supposed 
economic potential of Munster, both because he had spent two years there and 
because it was Raleigh's Munster associates, most notably Warham St. Leger 
and Richard Grenville, who had been responsible for the earlier project. These 
two, as well as most prominent captains and officials who had served in Munster 
during the recent wars, expected that their long-cherished hopes would finally 
be realized. In this they were to be generally disappointed, and Grenville and 
St. Leger managed to have themselves included in the Munster plantation only 
by surrendering to the Crown the property which previously they had acquired 
from the earl of Desmond through mortgage transactions with the request that 
this should be regranted to them under plantation conditions and augmented 
to bring it up the size of a full seignory. 27 

The main beneficiaries of the grants made of Munster land were not therefore 
those who had previous experience of the province but rather those who happened 
to be in favor at Court when the grants were being made. It was in this capacity 
that Walter Raleigh became involved as a planter and his influence with the 
Queen was such that he not only did better than anybody whose claims were 
based on Irish experience, but he received a grant which was far in excess of 
the maximum stipulated in the plantation conditions and which was in the 
best location in the province. The grant was for three and a half seignories of 
land, when the plantation conditions stated that nobody should have more than 
one seignory, and the land lay along the banks of the River Blackwater waterway 
which flowed into the sea through the navigable port of Youghal. The seignory 
granted to Lord Chancellor Hatton lay astride that of Raleigh, and these were 
not only the most fertile and the most strategically placed lands in the province 
in economic terms, but they were also the first to be measured and surveyed 
and granted with clear title to the recipients. 28 The fact that Raleigh's grant 
was in contravention of the plantation regulations themselves did not escape 

94 Raleigh and Quinn 

the attention of his contemporaries, but when Lord Deputy Perrott would have 
objected he was advised by Burghley against doing so because Raleigh "is able 
to do you more harm in one hour than we are all able to do you good in a year." 29 

Perrott took advice from Burghley on that occasion, but both he and his 
successor Sir William Fitzwilliam continued to resent his plantation project which 
was effected with scant reference to themselves as chief governors in Ireland. 30 
But if they had occasion to be resentful because of the treatment accorded them 
by the government in London they were given much more occasion by individual 
grantees in the plantation. Some of the soldier settlers behaved as if they were 
subject to no superior authority in Ireland while some courtiers referred all their 
problems to London as if no government existed in Dublin. Nobody behaved 
with more arrogance in this respect than Sir Walter Raleigh, and, while this 
earned him the enduring hatred of both Perrott and Fitzwilliam, it did ensure 
that his grant was not subject to dimunition because of the legal claims advanced 
against the settlers by the dispossessed landowners. The recognition by the 
government of such claims and their successful pursuit by Old English lawyers 
meant that what had originally been a carefully planned settlement became in 
the words of MacCarthy Morrogh "a mosaic" which rarely provided "any unified 
blocks of land." 31 This development caused consternation among the settlers, 
and Sir Warham St. Leger spoke for many when he complained how the Queen 
by her leniency had bestowed land which was rightfully hers "upon a company 
of hollow-hearted papistical wretches and disinherited her loving and natural 
English subjects." 32 

Such problems were not shared by Raleigh, or for that matter by Sir 
Christopher Hatton, because they were secure in the Queen's favor. This meant 
that they were able to proceed more energetically than the others in the matter 
of developing their estates, and Raleigh would also have been better than most 
as a planter because he would have known from his American experience how 
to set about providing for a settler community during the first phase of settlement. 
The details of how Raleigh set about populating and developing his estate are 
not known, but the principal responsibility was placed in the hands of Andrew 
Colthurst, a captain in the government's pay, and Robert Mawle, but Raleigh 
himself visited his lands in the autumn of 1588 and in the late summer of 1589. 
It is clear that he never intended his residence there to be a permanent one, 
and we know from the surviving leases for his estate that he intended that the 
primary investment should be made by his freeholders rather than by himself. 33 
The names of the fourteen freeholders that had been introduced there by 1589 
are known to us from Raleigh's own listing of that year. 34 

The fact that these freeholders included some who went by the description 
of merchant indicates Raleigh's intention of establishing a commercial dimension 
to the plantation. The first priority was, however, the introduction of tenants, 
livestock, and agricultural equipment, as well as the delineation of tenancies 

Raleigh's Ireland 95 

and the construction of houses. In this respect Raleigh, or his agents, proved 
more enterprising than most settlers, and he was able to name 128 English tenants 
on his estate in 1598 of whom sixty- four were listed as having had wives, and 
sometimes children, with them. These figures he claimed in a postscript to his 
report of 1589 were an underestimate of his total achievement because there 
were "more over there and diverse others not here set down which are gone 
into England to fetch their families and many of these have diverse persons in 
their families not here nominated besides mariners, fishermen and Irish tenants 
inhabiting upon some of the escheated or seignory lands of the said Sir Walter 
Raleigh, knight." 35 Whatever of this claim we know that he continued after 
1589 to introduce still more English settlers to his lands, and these arrivals included 
the artist John White who went there after his last Roanoke voyage to join 
Thomas Hariot who was already listed in 1589 among the settlers on Raleigh's 
Irish estate. 36 These settlers were declared in 1589 to be in possession of 1,430 
cattle, 1,160 sheep, 28 ploughs, 10 teams of horses, and 310 small Irish horses, 
stud mares, hackneys, goats and swine. It is not clear what proportion of these 
animals had been imported from England but most of the ploughs were deep 
cutting ploughs of English origin which would be drawn by a team of animals, 
and the acres of fallow land ready for ploughing were enumerated. 37 The 
freeholders had by this time occupied some ruined castles on the estates and 
were presumably repairing them, and Raleigh himself acquired a comfortable 
residence in the port of Youghal as well as Lismore castle which he intended 
as his seat. The tenants were as yet living in hastily constructed timber houses 
but they were required by their terms of lease to build houses after "the English 
manner" within a specified time, and they were also usually required to enclose 
their property into fields using white-thorn quicksets and ditches after the manner 
of the southwest of England. 38 

These were exacting terms by any standards but they were matched by relatively 
low rents and usually long-term leases extending in some instances to a hundred 
years. Such a rent structure was clearly designed to promote a high level of 
investment by the tenants which indicates that Raleigh intended his profit to 
come either from commercial activity or from the eventual sale of the property. 
The postscript to his report of 1589 indicates that he recognized the potential 
offered by the fishing ground off the southwest of Ireland, but the immediate 
cash crop was the rich supply of hard timber that grew upon his lands. This 
he set about felling for the purpose of making pipe and barrel staves which 
were exported through his agent Henry Pyne to the wine islands in the Atlantic 
where timber was at a premium. It appears that Raleigh also contemplated the 
development of iron smelting on his lands, and he or his agents experimented 
with the growing of hops. 39 Legend has it that Raleigh introduced the potato 
on his lands, and it is possible that he did so because climatic conditions in 
Ireland were suited to the development of the tuber, and potato growing was 


Raleigh and Quinn 

certainly widespread in the southern half of Ireland a half-century later. 40 We 
know from the researches of Joan Thirsk that Raleigh's planter neighbor, Sir 
Christopher Hatton, encouraged woad growing on his Irish estate, 41 and it is 
likely that Raleigh followed his example because two small manufacturing villages 
had come into being on the Raleigh lands previous to 1598. 42 Even more dramatic 
was the physical transformation of the countryside which resulted from the 
systematic felling of trees and the gradual enclosure of the land. We get a visual 
impression of what had been achieved from the 1598 map of the farm of Mogeley 
granted in lease by Raleigh to Henry Pyne. This splendid map, which some 
attribute to John White of Roanoke fame, presents a picture of a countryside 
resembling that of southwest England with neatly divided and fenced fields 
organized about a settled community and displaying a rabbit warren as a symbol 
of civility. 43 


»■« .••'.>, •:-. &.' 


Walter Raleigh's lands in Ireland. From Irish Maps in Irish Heritage Series, No. 18 
(Dublin: Eason and Son, 1978). 

Raleigh's Ireland 97 

Whether this map represented the actuality of 1598 or the ideal that was 
being striven after is not clear, but we are certain that this section as well as 
most of the original Raleigh estate was enclosed in this fashion from the early 
decades of the seventeenth century. The estate was also made more compact 
through the systematic acquisition by Raleigh of neighboring church property, 
and we also learn from the seventeenth century sources that a sizeable number 
of the families who had settled on the Raleigh lands in the 1580s were still 
represented among the tenants of thirty years later. 44 Their persistence is the 
best evidence there is that Raleigh had created the conditions that were best 
suited to settlement in Ireland, but even his best efforts did not preserve the 
lands free from the consequences of the native uprising that occurred in 1598, 
just after the estate map had been made. 

Native resentment over loss of property was the factor that most contributed 
to this uprising, and those who had been dispossessed had an opportunity to 
reoccupy what had been lost once government authority was paralyzed by 
the early military successes of Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone, who had risen 
in revolt against the crown. The houses of the principal Munster settlers were 
pillaged, their manufacturing towns, such as Raleigh's town of Tallow in County 
Waterford, were destroyed, and their tenants were chased off the land and forced 
to flee back to England. 45 This turn of events represented ruin for many of 
the planters in Munster but hardly so for Raleigh, who had invested upwards 
of £1,000 in the experiment but who had already recouped much of his investment 
by leasing his entire estate from 1594 forward for £200 per annum. The fact 
that he did so indicates that his interest in the Munster plantation was already 
waning by that date, and this loss of interest may be explained as much by 
the difficulty he experienced in controlling his agents at a distance as it had 
been by the pessimistic view of the plantation that was fostered by some of 
his fellow planters in Munster. We know that Raleigh during his brief sojourns 
in Ireland as a planter established a close friendship with Edmund Spenser, who 
was one of those pessimists and who predicted that the entire plantation would 
fail because the planned settlement had lost its coherence as a result of the 
restoration of so much land to the native proprietors. 46 

But if Raleigh and Spenser shared a premonition that a revolt would occur 
in Munster, their reactions to that revolt were strikingly different. Where Spenser, 
whose livelihood depended on the success of the plantation, called upon the 
Queen to wreak vengeance on those who had been responsible for the revolt, 
Raleigh, the courtier, accepted the inevitable and sought to salvage what he 
could from the wreck by putting up his Irish lands for sale. 47 He had already 
been considering a sale for £2,000 in 1596 before the revolt occurred, so he 
seemingly considered himself fortunate to dispose of the property in 1602, when 
peace had been restored to Munster, for an agreed price of £1,500 of which 
only £1,000 had been paid to Raleigh before he was committed to prison by 
King James. 48 

98 Raleigh and Quinn 

This transaction would probably have ended Raleigh's connection with Ireland 
were it not that the purchaser, the calculating Richard Boyle (subsequently earl 
of Cork), advanced to dazzling economic and social success on the basis of his 
shrewd investment. As Raleigh languished in prison he must have regretted 
his sale and he must have particularly resented Boyle's defaulting on the final 
payment when reports reached him of the income that Boyle (a knight since 
1603) enjoyed from the property. Already by 1613, Boyle's rental income was 
£4,000 per annum and most of this came from the Raleigh estates which he 
had freed from incumberance by breaking the long-term leases that Raleigh had 
entered into with his tenants. 49 The benefit of the original investment in the 
development of the property thus became Boyle's, while the Raleigh house in 
Youghal and the castle at Lismore were now developed to become suitable residents 
for the future earl of Cork. 

All of the achievements of Richard Boyle are as much a tribute to the initial 
colonization efforts of Raleigh as they are to the energy and astuteness of Richard 
Boyle. It is hardly surprising therefore that when Raleigh was finally released 
from prison in 1617 and was engaging upon his last fateful voyage to Guiana 
he should stop off the coast of Munster and make contact with Richard Boyle 
who was now Baron of Youghal. The baron received him cheerfully, entertained 
him well, and obviously settled the debt to Raleigh's satisfaction because he 
took Boyle's part in bearing witness against Henry Pyne to the effect that the 
lease by which Pyne held his lands had been forged. By this means Boyle and 
Raleigh took revenge on Raleigh's erstwhile agent who had proven as much 
a thorn in Boyle's side as he had in that of Walter Raleigh. 50 What the terms 
of the settlement were between Boyle and Raleigh are not clear, but they were 
hardly as generous as those depicted by Boyle of their last encounter. He had, 
he claimed, given Raleigh 1,000 marks towards the cost of fitting him out for 
his voyage and proffered him a further £100 in French crowns as a free gift 
which was allegedly refused by Raleigh. Then in full view of a company Raleigh 
supposedly took his son by the hand and professed: 51 

Watt you see how nobly my Lord Boyle has entertained and supplied 
me and my friends, and therefore I charge you upon my blessing, if it 
please God that you outlive me and return that you never question the 
Lord Boyle for any thing that I have sold him, for I do lay my curse 
upon my wife and children if they ever question any of the purchases 
his lordship had made to me, for if he had not purchased any Irish land 
of me by my fall it would have come to the crown and then one Scot 
or other would have begged it from whom neither I nor mine would 
have had any thing for it, nor such courtesies as now I have received. 

No such courtesies awaited Raleigh when he again stopped in Ireland on his 
way from Guiana a broken man who had lost his son. But his previous dealings 
there haunted him as he lodged in the Tower before his execution, and one 

Raleigh's Ireland 99 

of his final acts was to retract the evidence that he had presented against Henry 
Pyne in Ireland the previous year. 52 In doing so he was no doubt hoping for 
a more favorable judgment from his maker than he had received from his earthly 


*John Neville, in presenting Nicholas Canny, said: "Several days ago a newspaper reporter 
asked me why we planned a paper entitled 'Raleigh's Ireland.' Rather than give you the explanation 
I gave the reporter, I want to introduce our speaker. Nicholas Canny is a native of Ireland, 
and his secondary education was at St. Flannan's College in County Clare. From the University 
College, Galway, he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees, then he came to the United 
States for his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1974-75 he was senior Fulbright 
Fellow from Ireland and spent a semester each at Harvard and Yale and the summer at the 
Institute for Early American History and Culture at Williamsburg. For 1979-80 he was a member 
of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Returning to Ireland, he was dean of the 
Faculty of Arts from 1982-85 at University College, Galway, where he is now professor of 
modern history. 

"Professor Canny has published on both sides of the Atlantic. His first book, The Elizabethan 
Conquest of Ireland, won the Irish Historical Research Prize in 1976. He is also author of The 
Upstart Earl (1982), and he was co-editor of The Westward Enterprise, a festschrift for David 
Beers Quinn (1978). His From Reformation to Restoration: Ireland 1534-1660, and an edited volume, 
Colonial Identity in the Atlantic World 1500-1800, are scheduled for publication this year. He 
holds membership in the Royal Irish Academy and is this year a fellow at the National 
Humanities Center." 

Nicholas Canny, The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland: A Pattern Established, 1565-16 (Hassocks 
near Brighton and New York: 1976), esp. pp. 66-92. 

2 For the details of his early career see Cecil S. Emden, "Sir Walter Ralegh 1552 or 1554-1618: 
His Friends at Oriel," in Cecil S. Emden, Oriel Papers (Oxford: 1948), pp. 9-21. 

3 For the advocacy of Ireland as a place in which younger sons might make their careers see 
A Letter Sent by J.R gentleman unto . . . Mayster R.C. esquire (London: 1571, S.T.C. 1048); and 
for the presence in Ireland of younger sons see Thomas Churchyard, Churchyarde's Choise: A 
generall Rehersall of Wanes (London: 1579, S.T.C, 5235). 

4 Canny, The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland, pp. 93-116. 

5 For an example of how local office could thus be turned to personal advantage in Ireland 
see Terence O. Ranger, "Richard Boyle and the Making of an Irish Fortune," in Irish Historical 
Studies, 10 (1957): 257-297. 

6 For Grey see D.N.B. under Grey, Arthur, fourteenth Baron Grey de Wilton. 

'Arthur Collins, Letters and Memorials of State, 2 vols., (London: 1746), vol. 1, pp. 279-83. 

8 For the careful selection by Sidney of his subordinates in Ireland, see Canny, The Elizabethan 
Conquest of Ireland, pp. 69-70 and 137-153. 

9 Ibid., pp. 45-65. 

10 A New History of Ireland, Vol. Ill, Early Modem Ireland, 1534-1691, ed. TW. Moody, F.X. 
Martin and F.J. Byrne (Oxford: 1976), pp. 103-111. 

n For the causes and consequences of these revolts see Ciaran Brady, "Faction and the Origins 
of the Desmond Rebellion of 1579," in Irish Historical Studies, 22 (1981): 289-312, and Nicholas 
Canny, "Identity Formation in Ireland: the Emergence of the Anglo-Irish," in Colonial Identity 
in the Atlantic World, 1500-1800, ed. Nicholas Canny and Anthony Pagden (Princeton: 1987), 
pp. 159-213, esp. pp. 163-177. 

100 Raleigh and Quinn 

12 One of his letters is conveniently transcribed in Norman Lloyd Williams, Sir Walter Raleigh 
(London: 1962), pp. 33-35. 

13 Ormond to Burghley, Sept. 4, 1583, in Public Record Office (London), S.P. 63/104/60. 

U A New History of Ireland, Vol. Ill, pp. 107-8; see also Alfred O'Rahilly, The Massacre at 
Smerwich, 1580 (Cork: 1938). 

15 Lloyd Williams, Sir Walter Raleigh, pp. 29-31. 

™Ibid., pp. 31-35. 

17 For an account of this episode by a contemporary who was sympathetic to Lord Grey's 
position, see Edmund Spenser, A View of the Present State of Ireland, ed. W.L. Renwick (Oxford: 
1970), pp. 105-7. In this account Spenser was careful to suggest that Ormond was manipulated 
into opposing Grey's policy. 

18 Lord Gray to Walsingham, Dec. 9, 1581, in Public Record Office, S.P. 63/87/18. 

»A New History of Ireland, Vol. Ill, pp. 108-9. 

20 Ormond to Burghley, March 4, 1584, in Public Record Office, S.P. 63/108/5. 

21 David B. Quinn, "The Munster Plantation: Problems and Opportunities," in Journal of the 
Cork Archaeological and Historical Society, 71 (1966): 19-40; Michael MacCarthy Morrogh, The 
Munster Plantation: English Migration to Southern Ireland, 1583-1641 (Oxford, 1986), pp. 38-45. 

22 Fenton to Walsingham, Sept. 29, 1587, in Public Record Office, S.P. 63/131/33. 

^Sir Robert Naunton, Memoirs of Elizabeth, Her Court and Favourites (London, 1824), pp. 109-10. 

24 Norman Lloyd Williams, Sir Walter Raleigh, pp. 49-50; Quinn, "The Munster Plantation"; 
MacCarthy Morrogh, The Munster Plantation, pp. 19-38. 

25 Canny, The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland, pp. 83-84; MacCarthy Morrogh, The Munster 
Plantation, pp. 20-21. 

26 MacCarthy Morrogh, The Munster Plantation, pp. 30-38; for the favourable reaction of one 
senior official to woad-growing in Ireland, see Wallop to Walsingham, 19 April 1585 (London, 
P.R.O, S.P. 63/116/18). 

27 MacCarthy Morrogh, The Munster Plantation, pp. 73-75. 

28 Ibid., pp. 52-55. 

29 Ibid., p. 52. 

30 D.B. Quinn, Raleigh and the British Empire (London: 1947), pp. 153-54. 

31 MacCarthy Morrogh, The Munster Plantation, p. 19. 

32 St. Leger to Queen Elizabeth, May 1589, in Public Record Office, S.P. 63/144/82. 

33 D.B. Quinn, Raleigh and the British Empire, pp. 139-52; for Raleigh's leases see Dublin, 
National Library of Ireland, MS 6135. 

34 "The names of Sir Walter Raleigh his tenants: my Lord Warden his book," in London, 
Public Record Office, S.P. 63/144/28; ff. 62-5. 

3S Ibid. 

36 D.B. Quinn, Raleigh and the British Empire, pp. 142-43; MacCarthy Morrogh, The Munster 
Plantation, pp. 114-15. 

37 The enumeration of livestock and implements as well as remarks on fallow land were provided 
after each group of settlers listed in S.P. 63/144/28, cited at note 34 above. 

38 Raleigh's leases, N.L.I., MS 6135; MacCarthy Morrogh, The Munster Plantation, pp. 228-29. 

39 D.B. Quinn, Raleigh and the British Empire, pp. 123-24; MacCarthy Morrogh, The Munster 
Plantation, p. 240. 

40 That it was feasible to grow the potato in Ireland is evident from J.G. Hawkes, "Masters 
Memorial Lecture, 1966, The History of the Potato," in Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, 
92 (1967): 207-24 and 288-302. That potatoes were, in fact, grown in the southern half of 
Ireland during the first half of the seventeenth century is evident from the depositions taken 
in the aftermath of the 1641 Rebellion. See for example the deposition of Richard Prudderagh 
of Whitchurch, County Waterford (Trinity College, Dublin, MS 820, f. 177). 

Raleigh's Ireland 101 

41 London, Public Record Office, LR9/86; file marked Alexander King. I am grateful to Joan 
Thirsk for supplying me with her notes from this file which concerns the alleged frauds associated 
with an attempt to grow woad, madder and oilseed on Hatton's lands in Ireland. 

42 The details of what had been achieved in the matter of urban development only came to 
light in 1598 when they were destroyed, on which see A.J. Sheehan, "The Overthrow of the 
Plantation of Munster in October, 1598," in The Irish Sword, 15 (1982): 11-22. 

43 This Mogeley map is housed in the National Library of Ireland and is reproduced as map 
no. 12, in J.H. Andrews, Irish Maps, Irish Heritage Series, No. 18 (Dublin: 1978). 

44 MacCarthy Morrogh, The Munster Plantation, pp. 150-1; Nicholas Canny, The Upstart Earl: 
A Study of the Social and Mental World of Richard Boyle, first Earl of Cork, 1566-1643 (Cambridge: 
1982), pp. 19-25. 

45 A.J. Sheehan, "The Overthrow of the Plantation of Munster in October, 1598." 

46 MacCarthy Morrogh, The Munster Plantation, pp. 121, 141. On the pessimism of Spenser, 
see Ciaran Brady, "Spenser's Irish Crisis: Humanism and Experience in the 1590s," in Past & 
Present, no. Ill (May 1986): 17-49, and Nicholas Canny, "Edmund Spenser as Political Theorist: 
A Comment on 'Spenser's Irish Crisis', " in Past & Present, forthcoming. 

47 MacCarthy Morrogh, The Munster Plantation, p. 141. 

48 Canny, The Upstart Earl, p. 6. 


50 MacCarthy Morrogh, The Munster Plantation, pp. 186-87. 

51 Cork to Carew Raleigh, 16 Jan. 1632 (Chatsworth, Cork Letter Book, I, ff. 389-92). 

52 MacCarthy Morrogh, The Munster Plantation, p. 187. 

American Colonization through Raleigh's Eyes 

John W. Shirley* 

It is fitting that the American celebration of the quadricentennial of the English 
colonization of North America should close with a memorial to Sir Walter 
Raleigh. Though historians are rarely totally in agreement, there is general consen- 
sus in one thing: that in spite of his failures, this proud favorite of the Virgin 
Queen made a greater contribution to the concept of a British Empire than 
did all the ministers and officials of the Tudor state. 

Dr. Jones has asked me at this conference to address the subject of "American 
Colonization Through Raleigh's Eyes" 1 — a most interesting and important subject 
which I approach with some diffidence. It raises the questions: What did Raleigh 
think of colonization in the New World? And when did he think it? Since 
no man can ever know what another man thinks, you can understand my diffi- 
dence. But since you cannot prove me wrong, let me try. 

Raleigh's interest in the colonization of the New World falls into three periods 
of his life. The first, his youthful introduction to America and its potential, 
extended from the 1580s through the mid-1590s and covered the Virginia period 
so important to this conference. The second, during his mature years from the 
mid-1590s to the death of Elizabeth in which he took his most personally active 
role, involved the search for El Dorado and a vigorous effort to establish colonies 
in South America. The third, short and tragic, was his frenzied South American 
expedition of 1617 which led to his beheading in the following year. As we 
shall see, Raleigh's dreams of empire changed somewhat with each of these new 

The Virginia period of exploration and settlement bore the marks of the young 
Raleigh: imaginative, daring, impetuous. From generations on both sides of 
his lineage young Walter had inherited qualities which dominated his actions 
for the rest of his life: a pride in family and country, a love of the sea, a quick 
passion, and a strong sense of the dramatic. 2 Raleigh had already enjoyed the 
wide experiences of the young Elizabethan of good family. He had been registered 
at Oriel College, Oxford, at the age of fourteen and was on the rolls until 
1571, but spent much of that time in France, learning the art of war aiding 
the Huguenots in their wars against the Catholics. By age twenty-three, Raleigh 
was in London, center of the Court and intellectual society of England, a member 
of the Inner Temple, and one of the young poets and courtiers who were hangers- 
on of the Court. 

Here in the late 1570s, Raleigh began to focus on the New World. In the 
Inner Temple lived Richard Hakluyt the elder, whose major interest was naviga- 
tion and geography, who was stimulating much discussion on the new lands 

104 Raleigh and Quinn 

to the west. Raleigh's blustering half-brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, was also 
in London, pushing in the Court and in the city for exploration of the far reaches 
of the world, both for commercial profit and to annoy the Queen's enemy, the 
King of Spain. Gilbert's persuasive arguments resulted in his being granted, on 
11 June 1578, the first letters patent giving him and his heirs permission to 
seek out and discover any heathen and barbarous lands in the New World not 
occupied by any Christian king. 

Walter Raleigh, alert to fresh opportunities and sharing Gilbert's thirst for 
gold and his hatred of Catholic Spain, was quickly in the midst of these activities. 
He not only joined many members of his family in offering financial support 
to Sir Humphrey for a preliminary voyage of discovery, but he volunteered his 
own person, inexperienced as he was, to the expedition. And, since in Elizabethan 
days leaders were often chosen for family status rather than experience or ability, 
Raleigh was named commander of the Falcon, which had formerly been one 
of the Queen's own ships. 3 Master of the Falcon was a Portuguese pilot, Simon 
Fernandes, described by the Spanish Ambassador as "a great rogue who knows 
that coast well," to be intimately linked with Raleigh in years to come. The 
Falcon flew a bold motto: Nee mortem peto nee finem fugio ("I neither seek death 
nor flee the end"), which Raleigh might well have taken as his own. 

Sir Humphrey Gilbert was, as the Queen said, "a man noted for no good 
hap at sea." Though his enthusiasm ran high, his capacity for organization was 
limited. As a result, this first assault on the unclaimed lands for which Gilbert 
and Raleigh had such high hopes was a fiasco. Ships were provisioned and ready 
to go in early summer, but delays kept them in harbor until summer was gone 
and supplies were beginning to spoil. Three of the ships deserted to go privateering 
on their own. Starting late, the other seven ships encountered severe storms 
which forced them back to Dartmouth harbor. Raleigh, no doubt under the 
influence of Fernandes and looking for loot, took off in the Falcon for the West 
Indies, met up with some Spanish ships, engaged them, and after a fierce fight 
was badly beaten. Shamefacedly, he was forced to return to England with a 
badly damaged ship, for whose repair he was responsible. The only prizes taken 
by the expedition were reviewed by the Privy Council and ordered returned 
to their owners, and both Gilbert and Raleigh were placed under surety not 
to engage in piracy. Raleigh learned much from this first brush with the exploration 
of the New World: contingencies must be prepared for; the Spaniards were 
formidable foes on the water; and he personally was not a good sailor— contact 
with the sea made him violently seasick, as it was to do for the rest of his life. 

This experience may have led Raleigh to accept a commission as a captain 
in the English colonial empire in Ireland. The eighteen months he spent there 
were most valuable in giving him experience in colonization. 4 Raleigh went 
to Ireland imbued with the stern and rigid principles of justice espoused earlier 
by his idol Humphrey Gilbert. As Gilbert had done, Raleigh, under orders, 

American Colonization through Raleigh's Eyes 105 

unflinchingly slaughtered soldiers, women, and children in the surrendered garri- 
son of Smerwick. But when named as one of the commissioners governing 
the city of Munster, Raleigh wisely concluded that he should learn the people's 
problems, to stop revolts before they started. For some months he travelled widely, 
observing conditions and listening to the problems of the Irish. 

This strategy worked: in a few months Raleigh had won the respect and 
confidence of the Munster English and became dissatisfied with English political 
policy. The mass of the peasants and many of the lesser nobles, he found, distrusted 
or hated the tyrannical overlords who were leading the rebellion. If given protec- 
tion from these few leaders, he argued, they would rally to the support of the 
English government. He advocated that the English representatives assist the 
Irish in solving their economic problems and enlist their support and allegiance 
for a friendly Queen who could subdue the treasonable few who wanted to 
return Ireland to the Pope. This radical view enraged Lord Grey and led to 
Raleigh's return to Court, "bringing letters in post for her Majesty's affairs." 

Raleigh wasted no time in expressing his views about England's colonial policies 
at Court. His presentations on Ireland to Walsingham, the Privy Council, and 
the Queen herself were direct and forceful. Raleigh as a young man was an 
impressive figure — tall, handsome, and self-assured. The gossip John Aubrey 
reported that Raleigh "told his tale so well, and with so good a grace and presence, 
that the Queen took especial notice of him and presently preferred him." 5 Under 
the absolute monarchy of the Tudors, such favoritism paid off very quickly. When 
Raleigh's commission expired in April, the Queen renewed his title and salary, 
but demanded he remain in England near the Court. She granted him the lease 
of the town house of the Bishop of Durham, which gave Raleigh a London 
center near the Court in public view. In May the Queen granted him leases 
of two estates, and shortly awarded him the right to levy charges against every 
English vintner licensed to sell wines. The thirty-year-old Raleigh was almost 
overnight one of the richest men in England. 

Raleigh's new wealth whetted his interest in the development of a colonial 
empire for Elizabeth. Gilbert's charter for discovery and settlement of the New 
World was to expire in 1584, and except for a few exploratory expeditions by 
Simon Fernandes nothing significant had been done since the aborted venture 
of 1578; now in 1582 preparations for a larger voyage began in earnest. To finance 
it, Sir Humphrey offered grants of land to supporters and drew up elaborate 
plans concerning the governance, public services, churches, and economic develop- 
ment of lands yet to be discovered. Raleigh was enthusiastic about the potential 
of new colonies; he not only bought shares in the company, but used some 
of his new wealth to build an experimental ship of 200 tons, the Bark Raleigh, 
which he planned to command in the voyage. 

Raleigh's Durham House, on the Thames embarkment, became a center of 
activity as experts of all sorts were enlisted in the enterprise. The famous John 

106 Raleigh and Quinn 

Dee, England's foremost authority on geography and theoretical navigation, was 
a consultant. The younger Richard Hakluyt, who was giving instruction in 
geography and navigation at Oxford, was drafted to help, and probably brought 
with him his "bedfellow at Oxford," Stephen Parmenius of Buda, who asked 
to be a member of the expedition. 6 A case could be made that it was at this 
time that one of Hakluyt 's Oxford students, Thomas Harriot, and another Oxford 
friend, Lawrence Keymis, were also brought into the planning. 7 Though Raleigh 
planned to be second-in-command, again Elizabeth wanted him to remain near 
her. For Raleigh's sake, this was fortunate, for Gilbert's second attempt was 
no more successful than his first. 8 In spite of the frenzy of preparation, the 
fleet was again poorly outfitted and victualed. Not even the route plans were 
firm, and at the last minute sailing routes were in confusion. Illness and inadequate 
food supplies forced the Bark Raleigh to return to port and from that point 
on the voyage lost focus. The vessels separated, rendezvous were missed, ill sailors 
refused to sail, the Delight ran aground and was wrecked; more than eighty 
men drowned, all of Gilbert's maps, charts, and logs were lost, and when the 
few remaining men were returning to England, the ten-ton Squirrel on which 
Gilbert chose to sail was caught in a violent storm off the Newfoundland coast 
and disappeared with all aboard. 

The death of Sir Humphrey and the impending termination of his patent 
stirred his brothers into even greater activity at the Court. Adrian Gilbert joined 
forces with John Dee to seek a new charter to permit him to explore for a 
northwest passage to China. Though Raleigh originally had a large hand in 
this venture, he soon dropped out to seek a renewal of Sir Humphrey's patent 
for the colonization of the New World in his own name. In February 1594, 
five months after Sir Humphrey's death, Sir Adrian was granted his request and 
obtained rights to explore for new and shorter mercantile routes to the riches 
of the Orient. A month later, on 25 March, Walter Raleigh was given a new 
lease for the colonization of the New World. 

Raleigh accepted his leadership role in American colonization with his usual 
enthusiasm and energy. Obviously his motives were mixed: his desire for great 
wealth for his Queen and country (which he seemed to view as identical) and, 
not incidentally, for himself, was mixed with his hatred of the vile Catholic 
Spaniards who were the antithesis of everything good Englishmen believed. 

Activities increased at Durham House, to the extent that in many ways it 
resembled the navigation school of the Portuguese established by Prince Henry 
the Navigator. The two magi, John Dee and Thomas Harriot, collected maps 
and rutters of the coastlines of the emerging continent collating new information 
as it was obtained. Detailed information on ship design was brought to the 
Durham library, analyzed, revised, and passed on to shipbuilders to improve 
their products. Harriot attacked the monumental problem of determining the 
correction factor which needed to be applied to compass readings in diagonal 

American Colonization through Raleigh's Eyes 107 

sailing in different latitudes, solving the complex problem of the rhumbs in 
tables one decimal point more accurate than those used by the British Royal 
Navy today. 9 To insure that these innovations were not left in the Durham library, 
Harriot taught scientific navigation to Raleigh's masters and pilots, for which 
he wrote a text, called Antarcticon, which has unfortunately disappeared. 

Within a month of the receipt of the charter, Raleigh sent off an exploratory 
expedition under two of his young servants. Philip Amadas commanded the 
Bark Raleigh with Simon Fernandes as master, and Arthur Barlow followed in 
one of Raleigh's pinnaces. Raleigh again was not permitted to go; his new duties 
as junior knight for Devonshire in the House of Commons may have kept him 
at home. Almost certainly John White, later so closely tied to his colonizing 
ventures, was aboard, and quite likely Thomas Harriot, on whom Raleigh relied 
more than any other for advice. From late April to mid- September 1594 Raleigh's 
first commitment to the "remote heathen and barbarous landes" of Virginia — 
which this quadricentennial celebration is all about— was under way. 

Professor Quinn has made available the many extant documents about the 
Virginia colonies which exist to give some insight into Raleigh's hopes and ambi- 
tions. 10 Harriot's Briefe and True Report gives an amazingly modern overview 
of the economic wealth the colonies might provide and a fascinating first-hand 
account of the natives and their beliefs. White's superb drawings of Virginia 
and its people as seen by the colonists is of inestimable value to the historian. 
And an unpublished propaganda pamphlet is also very revealing of Raleigh's 
dream of empire. 

Shortly after the departure of Amadas and Barlowe on his first exploratory 
probe, probably in July, Raleigh conspired with Walsingham to bring back to 
London the Reverend Richard Hakluyt, who had been serving as chaplain to 
the English embassy in Paris, to help prepare a paper which might induce the 
Queen to support this new program. Remarkably, this tract has survived, though 
not published until this century. Hakluyt again joined Raleigh's entourage in 
Durham House and used Raleigh's books and maps and his own vast knowledge 
of voyages and explorations to produce a detailed pamphlet. Shortly after the 
return of Amadas and Barlow in mid-September, the treatise, bearing the formid- 
able title, 11 

A particular discourse concerninge the greate necessitie and manifolde commodyties 
that are like to growe to this Realme of Englande by the Western discoveries 
lately attempted, Written in the yere 1584. by Richarde Hackluyt of Oxforde 
at the requeste and direction of the righte worshipfull Mr. Walter Raghly nowe 
Knight, before the comynge home of his Twoo Barkes: 

was completed and on October 5th, Hakluyt waited on the Queen in person 
to present his "Discourse." 

Hakluyt's Discourse stresses the benefits Raleigh felt could ensue from this 
expansion of Elizabeth's empire. It is interesting to note that in the presentation 

108 Raleigh and Quinn 

to the Queen, the first and most cogent argument for settling the New World 
was the need to win the heathen natives away from the false gospel of the Spanish 
Catholics to the true religion of England. Hakluyt spelled this out clearly: 12 

Nowe the Kinges and Queenes of England have the name of Defendors 
of the Faithe: by which title I thinke they are not onely chardged to 
mayneteyne and patronize the faithe of Christe, but also to inlarge and 
advaunce the same: Neither oughte this to be their last worke, but rather 
the principall and chefe of allothers, according to the comaundemente 
of our Saviour Christe. 

Unquestionably this was Hakluyt the preacher rather than Raleigh speaking. 
Though Raleigh might approve the argument to win over the Queen, there 
is no evidence that any preacher or religious leader was included among the 
colonists sent to Virginia, and the only colonist who appeared interested in the 
religious beliefs of the natives was Thomas Harriot, who, like Raleigh, was 
accused of too liberal interpretation of the scriptures. 

Quickly, however, to appeal to the more worldly character of the Queen, 
the argument turned economic: bases in the New World would open new natural 
resources to English merchants and give shorter trade routes to the remote countries 
of the western world. English strongholds in the New World would furnish 
deep-water ports for the English fishing and merchant vessels during the inclement 
part of the year, and furnish safe harborage for English shipping currently en- 
dangered by their Spanish enemies. Holding such territory would "be a great 
bridle to the Indies of the kinge of Spaine" 13 making difficult the return voyages 
of his plate fleet. Spain, Hakluyt argued, must be restrained, for the great wealth 
being extracted from the New World was being used for evil purposes — 
endangering all Protestant countries, stealing properties properly the Queen's, 
and even supporting uprisings in Ireland and Scotland and threatening English 
peaceable enterprise. 

Into this picture of economic growth and development Hakluyt introduced— 
again probably at Raleigh's instigation — the sociological theme which Raleigh 
had exploited in his advice on Ireland. This was the theme that an oppressed 
people would join and support a benevolent ruler. In his tirade against the Spanish 
cruelties in treating the natives of the West Indies and New Spain, Hakluyt 
produced testimony that during the last forty years the Spaniards had "don to 
deathe unjustly and tyranously more than xij millions of soules men women 
and children." 14 Such oppressed people would quickly revolt and "shake off from 
their shoulders the moste intollerable and insupportable yoke of Spaine, which 
in many places they have already begonne to doo of themselves w/thoute the 
helpe of any christian Prynce." 15 

It was with such high hopes that Raleigh launched his second colonial effort 
under the leadership of Grenville and Lane in 1585. The expedition was more 
thoroughly planned, better manned and provisioned than any which had gone 

American Colonization through Raleigh's Eyes 109 

before. 16 Six ships and barks, carrying approximately six hundred men, were 
mustered. Richard Grenville and Ralph Lane, both experienced military men, 
were in command, charged with the responsibility of protecting the expedition 
from both the natives and the Spaniards, and of locating and seizing a suitable 
deep-water harbor for English shipping. Thomas Harriot, loaded down with 
the latest scientific instruments and a fair command of Algonquian, was Raleigh's 
special emissary, charged with surveying Virginia both for its geography and 
its economic resources and for a sociological study of the native inhabitants. 
His firsthand study was to be the base for later colonizing efforts and, if favorable, 
for gaining support to augment the settlement program. For this latter purpose 
(and for general interest), John White was to work with Harriot in drawing 
maps of the newfound land and in depicting representatives of the native population 
and their way of life. Soldiers enough to protect the expedition were equipped, 
and fresh and ample supplies for the whole colony for a full first year were 
to accompany them. Nothing that Sir Walter, now a wealthy man, could contrib- 
ute, solicit, or borrow to insure the success of the colony was omitted. 

As we all know, Raleigh's first colony did not live up to the high dreams 
of Raleigh, Hakluyt, Harriot, and White. The chosen leaders, Grenville and 
Lane, were too close to their violent battles with the Irish and too intense in 
their hatred of the Spaniards and Portuguese to approach the natives with the 
sympathy and understanding which would rally them to the cause of the Virgin 
Queen. The colonists, recruited with rosy promises of easy living, with gold 
and pearls to be had for the asking, were ill prepared for a hard pioneer life 
devoted to husbanding of the resources which actually were all around them. 
Bad feelings developed, and discipline and organization deteriorated instead of 
improving with experience. The frantic return of the colony with Drake a fort- 
night before Raleigh's supply ships arrived at Roanoke was a most disastrous 
blow to the steady growth and development of a colonial empire as envisioned 
by Sir Walter. 

Raleigh learned many lessons from the disappointing first settlement in Virginia. 
The reports of Harriot and White encouraged the economic potential of a perma- 
nent colony if relations with the natives could be improved. Roanoke Island 
had proved to be an unsatisfactory site for a major settlement, neither healthful 
for the colonists nor adequate as a harbor for major ships, merchantman or 
privateer. But explorations had found an alternative site on the shores of Chesapeake 
Bay. Experiences of the first winter had shown that to stabilize the colony and 
give a feeling of permanence to the settlement, family units would be vastly 
superior to an all-male group of citizens. Leadership should be civil rather than 

It was with these modifications that the second colonial effort was planned. 17 
John White, experienced and moderate, was to be governor. Families were to 
be recruited (including White's own pregnant daughter and her husband). And 

110 Raleigh and Quinn 

after a preliminary recovery of everything left in the Roanoke village, a new 
city was to be established on the Chesapeake. This group, the fourth American 
voyage sponsored by Sir Walter, "departed the sixth and twentieth of April [1587] 
from Portsmouth" to become the famous and mysterious Lost Colony, whose 
story need not be retold here. Only the caprices of fate kept Raleigh's youthful 
dreams of establishing an English settlement in Virginia from the rich success 
it deserved. 

The next few years when colonization efforts were most badly needed were 
hectic ones for England and for Raleigh. Though the fate of the colonists and 
Raleigh's hopes for England's overseas empire were not forgotten, they were 
forced by circumstances into a secondary role in his thinking. The imminence 
of Spain's assault on the English mainland was of prime importance, marked 
by reprisals, counterassaults, and open naval warfare in which Raleigh had a 
significant hand. His position on Elizabeth's war council took much of his time 
in the late 1580s, and the early 1590s found him as "Fortune's tennis ball," 18 
preoccupied almost completely with his personal problems. His secret marriage 
to one of her attendants, Elizabeth Throckmorton, infuriated Queen Elizabeth 
and put Raleigh in the Tower in disgrace. He had enough to do preserving 
his own head and any vestige of his fortune without worrying about the expansion 
of the Queen's empire. It was not until the middle of the 1590s, when Raleigh 
had begun to work himself back into favor, that he could again devote his thoughts 
to the New World. 

In Raleigh's eyes the situation had changed, both in America and in England. 
Only a bold and dramatic gesture could arouse the tired and jaded Elizabeth. 
He no longer had the resources to send English colonies to an undeveloped 
wilderness. What was needed was quick wealth or the acquisition of territories 
already developed. Prospects of limitless riches turned his thoughts again to Spain. 
The huge caches of precious metals and jewels stolen by Cortez and Pizzaro 
had been emptied. But had all the treasure cities west of the Andes been located? 
And had all the Inca warriors been destroyed? Both rumor and tradition suggested 
they had not. Gossip had it that some of the Inca and Aztec rulers had escaped, 
carrying with them vast stores of golden idols and treasures. Others spoke of 
undiscovered civilizations buried in the reaches of South America, not yet visited 
by Europeans. Tales of a lost Inca empire, El Dorado, city of gold, continued 
to circulate. This was a bait that a man like Raleigh could not resist. 

Raleigh's second dream of empire was clear. He would discover this lost city 
and lay its treasures before the Queen. 19 And, as his dreams grew, he expanded 
on the idea of establishing new colonies for Elizabeth in the South American 
region he named Guiana — not colonies of imported settlers living in a hostile 
environment, but of native Indians who could be converted to English religion, 
English social customs, and citizenship. These new citizens would live under 
the beneficent hand of Gloriana and would serve as local defenders of Englishmen 

American Colonization through Raleigh's Eyes 111 

and English trade against their Spanish enemies. These new colonies would meet 
all his dreams of empire: they would enrich England by pouring the gold of 
the Incas into her treasury; they would cripple Spain by removing her chief 
assets; and they would make England the preeminent world power by increasing 
her armies with powerful Indian hosts. The rich colony of Guiana would be 
Raleigh's gift to the world's preeminent monarch and the jewel of a precious 
new colonial empire. 

Though less well known than his efforts in Virginia, these South American 
ventures reveal much about Raleigh's ideas of colonization and give us our best 
view of the New World through his eyes. Not only did he personally take part 
in the venture, but he has himself furnished us with a detailed account of the 
whole expedition. Stimulated by the malicious gossip which accompanied this 
bold venture, Raleigh rose to his own defense and explained his motives. 
His account, titled The Discoverie of the Large, Rich, and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana, 
published in 1596, 20 reveals what he saw, did, and felt from February to August 
1595 while he was attempting to found a new empire for Elizabeth in the 
New World. 

Raleigh's charter for this voyage was much like those of the past, but since 
he was entering enemy waters, it authorized him to "offend and enfeeble the 
King of Spain" as well — a license for privateering, thievery, and hostile acts that 
must have thrilled his soldier's heart. Captain Whiddon, as usual, made a 
preliminary voyage in 1594 to explore the Orinoco delta (thought to lead to 
the site of El Dorado) and to sound out the Spanish defenses. Meanwhile Raleigh 
strained his resources for his major assault. Lord High Admiral Charles Howard 
offered one ship, and Raleigh mustered two of his own, the Bark Raleigh or 
the Roebuck, which he commanded himself, and an unnamed galley commanded 
by his close associate Lawrence Keymis. 

Arriving at Trinidad on 22 March, Raleigh began to gather information. That 
evening a small canoe came alongside, bearing two Indians, one of whom was 
a local casique or lord known by Whiddon. Raleigh used his charm to win 
them over, and from his questioning reports "wee vnderstood what strength 
the Spaniardes had, how farre it was to their Citie, and of Don Anthonio de 
Berreo, the gouernour, who was said to be slaine in his second attempt of Guiana, 
but was not." 21 Raleigh also charmed the native Spaniards who came to trade: 22 

... all which I entertained kindly and feasted after our manner: by means 
whereof I learned of one and another as much of the estate of Guiana 
as I could, or as they knew, for those poore souldiers hauing beene many 
yeares without wine, a fewe draughtes made them merry, in which moode 
they vaunted of Guiana and of the riches thereof, and all what they knew 
of the waies and passages, my selfe seeming to purpose nothing lesse 
then the enterance or discouerie thereof, but bred in them an opinion 
that I was bound onely for the reliefe of those english, which I had planted 
in Virginia, whereof the brute was come among them. . . . 

112 Raleigh and Quinn 

Raleigh lingered at Port of Spain: he continued to gather information from 
both Indians and Spaniards as he waited the chance to avenge the treasonable 
actions of the Spanish captain, Antonio de Berreo, who had ambushed and killed 
a number of Captain Whiddon's men the year before. At last convinced that 
Berreo was completely untrustworthy and that the search for Manoa required 
him to travel the Orinoco River in small boats, Raleigh concluded that "to 
enter Guiana by small boats, to depart 400 or 500 miles from my ships, and 
to leaue a garrison in my backe ... I should haue sauoured very much of the 
Asse. . . I' 23 Raleigh was not an ass, and he took the action he felt doubly needed: 24 

. . . taking a time of most aduauntage, I set vpon the Corp du guard in 
the euening, and hauing put them to the sword, sente Captaine Calfeild 
onwards with 60 soldiers, and my self followed with 40 more and so 
toke their new city which they called 5. Ioseph, by breake of day: they 
abode not any fight after a few shot, and al being dismissed but onely 
Berreo and his companion, I brought them with me abord, and at the 
instance of the Indians I set their new city of 5. Iosephs on fire. 

In complete control after this quick victory, Raleigh spent some days questioning 
Berreo, getting from him all he knew about the country, the native tribes, the 
names and dispositions of their casiques, and especially the location of the mines 
reported to be the source of Indian gold and silver. The gallega was cut down 
for more shallow draft, and in this, with one of the small ship's boats, Raleigh 
with 100 of his men started up the Orinoco. 

The hardships of the journey were very trying to a courtier accustomed to 
life at court. A hundred men were to spend a month 25 

in the raine and wether, in the open aire, in the burning sunne, & vpon 
the hard boards . . . that what with victuals being most fish . . . and the 
heate of the sunne, I will vndertake there was neuer any prison in England, 
that could be founde more vnsauory and lothsome, especially to my 
selfe, who had for many yeares before beene dieted and cared for in a 
sort farre differing. 

But like most Europeans seeing America for the first time, Raleigh forgot 
his discomfort in the glories of the countryside and the nobility of the natives. 
The first Indians they met were most impressive. "These Tiuitiuas are a very 
goodlie people and verie valiant, and haue the most manlie speech and most 
deliberate that euer I heard of what nation soeuer." Again, at the farthest point 
of their advance on the Caroni river, near the entrance to the fabled mine, where 
the men were led by a series of six waterfalls each as high as a church steeple, 
the fact that he admitted he was "a very ill footeman" 26 did not diminish Raleigh's 
poetic appreciation: 27 

American Colonization through Raleigh's Eyes 113 

I neuer saw a more beawtifull countrey, nor more liuely prospectes, hils 
so raised heere and there ouer the vallies, the riuer winding into diuers 
braunches, the plaines adioyning without bush or stubble, all faire greene 
grasse, the ground of hard sand easy to march on, eyther for horse or 
foote, the deare crossing in euery path, the birds towardes the euening 
singing on euery tree with a thousand seueral tunes, cranes & herons 
of white, crimson, and carnation pearching on the riuers side, the ayre 
fresh with a gentle easterlie wind, and euery stone that we stopped to 
take vp, promised eyther golde or siluer by his complexion. 

Surely this was a land fit for a Queen like Elizabeth! 

But Raleigh's main effort was to convince the native chiefs to ally with the 
English as enemies of the Spaniards and to embrace Elizabeth as their sovereign. 
From his first meeting with the native casiques 28 

by my Indian interpreter ... I made them vnderstand that I was the 
seruant of a Queene, who was the great Casique of the north, and a 
virgin, and had more Casiqui vnder her then there were trees in their 
Hand: that she was an enemy to the Castellans in respect of their tyrannie 
and oppression, and that she . . . had sent me to free them also. ... I 
shewed them her maiesties picture which they so admired and honored, 
as it had been easie to haue brought them Idolatrous thereof. 

This message, Raleigh wrote, he "made to the rest of the nations both in passing 
to Guiana, & to those of the borders, so as in that part of the world her maiesty 
is very famous and admirable." 29 

The high emotional points of Raleigh's Orinoco voyage were undoubtedly 
his two visits with his "old friend" Topiawari, the hundred-year-old chief of 
the mighty province of Arromaia, which might be the key to the entrance to 
El Dorado. Topiawari had succeeded to the throne when his nephew, Morequito, 
had been slain by Berreo for his gold. In spite of his great age, Topiawari was 
"a man of great vnderstanding and pollicie . . . and yet of a very able bodie." 30 
On their voyage up the Orinoco Raleigh made a special point of stopping at 
the port of Morequito, sending an emissary to the old king. "The next day 
following, before noone he came to vs on foote from his house, which was 
14 English miles (himself being 110 years old) and returned on foote the same 
daie." 31 A host of warriers, women, and children accompanied him bearing gifts: 
bread and wine, parakeets, even an armadillo the powder of whose horn, Raleigh 
the chemist wrote, cured deafness. 

After the old king had rested in Raleigh's tent from his long walk in the 
burning sun, Sir Walter began his campaign: 32 

... ere I went anie farther I made him know the cause of my coming 
thither, whose seruant I was, and that the Queenes pleasure was, I should 
vndertake the voiage for their defence, and to deliuer them from the 
tyrannie of the Spaniards, dilating at large (as I had done before to those 

114 Raleigh and Quinn 

of Trinedado) her Maiesties greatnes, her iustice, her charitie to all oppressed 
nations, with as manie of the rest of her beauties and vertues, as either 
I coulde expresse, or they conceiue, all which being with great admiration 
attentiuely heard, and maruellously admired .... 

After questioning Topiawari about the lands surrounding Guiana, their riches, 
and the willingness of the old king to ally himself with Raleigh's colonial venture, 
the two parted as close friends. Raleigh was to proceed with his explorations, 
and Topiawari would confer with the neighboring provinces and have an answer 
for Raleigh on his return. 

The coming of the rainy season and the consequent swelling of the Orinoco 
and its tributaries cut short the explorations which Raleigh hoped to accomplish. 
The fabled mine on which the hopes of the expedition rested was always reported 
in the lands beyond. From Morequito to the river Caroni they heard tales of 
gold in the villages ahead, but none was found. Yet in spite of the urgency 
of their return to their base in Trinidad, the cortege stopped off a second time 
at the port of Morequito. 33 

As soon as I came to ancor I sent away one for old Topiawari, with whom 
I much desired to haue farther conference, & also to deal with him for 
some one of his countrey, to bring with vs into England, as well to learne 
the language, as to conferre withall by the way. 

Within three hours of receiving Raleigh's message, Topiawari was at his side, 
"and with him such a rabble of all sortes of people, and euery one loden with 
somewhat, as if it had beene a great market or faire in England." 34 Raleigh, 
Topiawari, and a translator retired to Raleigh's tent to discuss strategy. 

Raleigh was reluctant to leave Guiana without the Inca gold which Topiawari 
assured him was not too distant. But Topiawari urged caution: the season was 
late and travel difficult; Raleigh's forces were too small to wage war and at the 
same time protect the natives; time did not permit mustering all the Indian 
nations to fight the Spaniards. Though Topiawari himself would probably not 
live for another year, discretion urged deferring the all-out assault until the better 
season of the next year, when Raleigh could furnish a stronger force and Topiawari 
would have united the natives to augment his numbers. Raleigh then gave 
Topiawari, and his chiefs some "of the new money of 20. shillings with her 
Maiesties picture to wear." 35 In return, Topiawari gave his solemn pledge that 
"the principallest of those prouinces [would] become seruauntes to her Maiestie, 
and to resist the Spanyardes, if they made any attempt in our absence." Agreement 
reached on this strategy, 36 

he freely gaue me his onelie sonne to take with me into England, and 
hoped, that though he himselfe had but a short tyme to Hue, yet by 
that meanes his sonne shoulde be established after his death: and I left 
with him one Frauncis Sparrow, a seruant of captaine Gifford, (who was 

American Colonization through Raleigh's Eyes 115 

desirous to tarry, and could describe a cuntrey with his pen) and a boy 
of mine called Hugh Goodwin, to learne the language. 

On every stop on the journey down the swollen river, Raleigh found welcome 
from the native chiefs. Word of the great Queen and her rich emissary and 
of their approval by Topiawari had spread throughout the land. More and more 
Raleigh had become convinced that Elizabeth's empire could well embrace the 
lands of the south of America and the wealth which had hitherto gone to her 
Spanish enemy. 

Raleigh was pleased with his future prospects, but unhappy about his failure 
to find gold. Leaving Trinidad he planned to visit the site of his Virginia colonies, 
but on the way decided to exercise the authority of his charter by raiding some 
of the Spanish towns to return some profit for his investors and himself. Raleigh 
claimed success, but reliable Spanish sources indicate that he was driven off with 
heavy losses. Raleigh himself conceded that he buried Captain Whiddon on 
Trinidad, and that he failed to collect the ransom he demanded for his captives, 
Alvaro Jorge and Antonio de Berreo. Even the fond hope of setting foot on 
Roanoke and seeing the Chesapeake was denied Raleigh, as he complained, "the 
extremity of weather forced me from the coast." 37 His small fleet was forced 
to turn back to England, where it arrived in August, six months after departure. 

Raleigh's empty-handed return to England aroused the anger of the few 
supporters he had. Many even doubted that he had been to America at all, accusing 
him of hiding out in Devon or lolling on the Barbary coast and purchasing 
samples of ore while his vessels sailed without him. Even the Queen seemed 
unmoved by his accounts of her American popularity. Indignant, and sincere 
in his firm belief of an American Elizabethan colony, Raleigh wrote his account 
of The Discoverie which, partly because of fancied accounts of the Amazons and 
Anthropophagi (in which Raleigh truly believed), became an immediate success, 
going through a second edition before 1596 was out. 

Raleigh took seriously his pledge to Topiawari and the other casiques to return 
with military and naval support for the building of the new Elizabethan empire. 
But first, he realized, he must locate a channel through the shallow deltas of 
the Orinoco and Amazon to accommodate ships of greater draft. Though few 
backers would support his venture, he continued to muster his own resources. 
Less than seven months after his return, in January 1596, Lawrence Keymis, 
in the Darling of London, followed by the pinnace Discovery, set sail on this new 
mission, hoping to take advantage of more propitious weather in the lands of 
the equator. The story of this mission was also published by Keymis under the 
title A Relation of the second Voyage to Guiana. Perfourmed and written in the yeare 
1596. By Lawrence Keymis, Gent. 38 

On this third voyage, again, the ocean crossing was made in foul weather; 
it was mid-March before the Darling reached the coast of Guiana and the pinnace 
did not arrive at all. For twenty-three days Keymis and his crew cruised the 

116 Raleigh and Quinn 

delta, charting the coast and entrances and seeking a deep-channel entrance. On 
April 6 they discovered a channel and sailed their ship directly into the Orinoco 
mainstream, which Keymis renamed Raleana for his patron. All along the way, 
Keymis reported, the natives rushed to greet them, thinking they brought the 
reinforcements promised by Raleigh to defeat their Spanish oppressors. 

From two casiques— Anawra and Aparwa— Keymis learned of developments 
during the past year. Topiawari had died and his only son (now christened Gualtero 
after Sir Walter) would be king on his return from England. In his absence, 
the tribes had gone into hiding to escape Spanish persecution. Meanwhile, the 
Spanish reinforcements under Berreo's son had overrun the entire area surrounding 
the Caroni River, bringing not only soldiers to strengthen their positions, but 
more than 600 colonists to establish permanent communities along the river, 
and sixty Negro slaves to work the mines. 

In his larger vessels, it took Keymis just eight days to reach the juncture with 
the Caroni where the mine was supposed to be. But here again his plans were 
foiled. During the year, Berreo's son had built a fort and garrison there, effectively 
blocking entrance to what Berreo (as well as Raleigh and Keymis) believed to 
be the source of Inca gold. Unable to reach the mine, the disappointed Keymis 
had sailed back to the open sea. There he found the Discovery had arrived in 
such foul shape that he had to burn it to keep it from the Spaniards. On his 
return voyage, though he hoped to seize some Spanish prizes or at least to purchase 
some tobacco to recoup their investment, he failed to find either, and reached 
England empty handed. 

Keymis' report to Raleigh of his failure to return gold, ore, or even the location 
of the gold mine, sounded the death knell for Raleigh's hopes to establish a 
Guiana empire under the aegis of his queen. The Queen was more concerned 
about the massing of Spanish warships in the harbor of Cadiz than the tribulations 
of a few primitive Indians on the Orinoco. Sir Robert Cecil wanted more from 
his investments than political promises and a few doubtful rocks. And the London 
merchants found it more profitable to raid Spanish shipping — to steal the gold 
the Spaniards had stolen from the Indians — than to extract wealth by hard 
labor. England was not ready for Sir Walter's dreams of empire. Although the 
day of empire was close at hand, it was not to dawn under the aegis of the 
Virgin Queen. 

Raleigh had little real pleasure for the rest of his life. England was still sparring 
with Spain for control of the seas, and Raleigh was much preoccupied in naval 
activities. When a great fleet was raised to assault the port of Cadiz in June 
1596, Raleigh, in command of his new two-decked warship Warspite, proved 
himself to be the hero of the occasion. It was the Earl of Essex, however, who 
took the fancy of the people. The Queen disappointed Raleigh by seizing the 
rewards for her own purse; badly wounded in battle, he complained, "What 
the Generals have gotten, I know least; they protest it is little. For my part 

American Colonization through Raleigh's Eyes 117 

I have gotten a lame leg and a deformed. ... I have possession of naught but 
poverty and pain." 39 

The next year, however, as payment for his loyalty, the Queen restored Sir 
Walter to his position of Captain of the Queen's Guards. By now, however, 
he was no longer a romantic favorite (that position was held by Essex), but 
an old and trusted friend and counselor of the court who was only able to send 
occasional vessels to seek for his lost colonists. The execution of Essex following 
his attempt to take over the throne, however, brought Raleigh into great disfavor 
with the masses. As Captain of the Queen's Guard he had been forced to attend 
the execution of his friend, and the people were inclined to blame him for the 
downfall of their favorite and booed him when he appeared. 

The accession of James VI of Scotland as James I of England brought Raleigh's 
final degradation. Before the first year of James's reign was out, Raleigh had 
been stripped of all offices and sources of income, had lost his estates, and, on 
trumped-up charges had been convicted of treason and thrown in the Tower, 
his very life subject to the "pleasure" of the King. Two rooms in "The Bloody 
Tower" were his home for the rest of his life. 

V. T. Harlow, the most assiduous scholar of his Guiana ventures, concluded 
that "the idea that dominated Raleigh's mind for the last thirty years of his 
life was the complete destruction of Spanish power in South America and the 
establishment of an English empire in its place." 40 He filled his Tower hours 
in writing his monumental History of the World, the most widely read book 
of the seventeenth century, but his major concern was for his own release and 
the establishment of an estate for his wife and son Walter. The Spanish gold 
which had earlier eluded him might still accomplish this. Raleigh deluged James 
with plans to wrest the riches of Guiana away from the Spaniards, and James 
(though he did still not trust Raleigh) was intrigued with the thought of quick 
and easy riches. On 16 March 1616, after holding him imprisoned for more 
than a dozen years, James, over the objections of the Spanish Ambassador, granted 
Raleigh a release from prison to prepare for another expedition to Guiana. This 
commission was issued under the privy seal instead of the royal seal, however, 
changed "trusty and well-beloved" into "under peril of the law," and included 
injunctions against harming any Spaniard who might be encountered. 41 The 
King was to receive all taxes and duties on everything Raleigh brought back, 
including one fifth of all gold, silver, and ores. And, hard to believe, to counter 
the objections of the Spanish Ambassador, Gondomar, James secretly agreed 
to reveal to him complete information about Raleigh's plans, ships, men, 
armaments, and schedules. In short, James was giving the expedition the kiss 
of death in advance. 

Raleigh's second voyage to Guiana is almost too tragic to recount. Even after 
thirteen years of disfavor and imprisonment, Raleigh was able to raise nearly 
30,000 pounds for the venture. A 500-ton warship, appropriately named the 

118 Raleigh and Quinn 

Destiny, was built and outfitted as flagship to a fleet listed as six warships and 
one pinnace totalling 1,215 tons and carrying 431 men and 121 pieces of ordnance. 
But nothing went right. Adverse winds forced the fleet back to port on its 
first attempt to sail. The same thing happened the second time. On the third 
a gale drove them past the Scilly islands and sank their pinnace. Winds, high 
seas, and spoiled foods caused much illness. Sir Walter was seasick before he 
lost the sight of land. In the Canaries they were mistaken for Barbary pirates 
and fired upon with some loss of life. And on the way to Guiana the men 
were struck by raging fevers and put completely out of action. Raleigh wrote 
his wife that he "suffered the most violent [tropical fever] for fifteen days that 
ever man did and lived." 42 His ship lost forty-two men, including his military 
commander, chief lieutenant, master surgeon, master refiner, provost marshal, 
the governor of the Bermudas, and two personal servants. Their bodies were 
cast overboard without ceremony. 

By the time they reached Trinidad it had become obvious that neither Sir 
Walter nor his kinsman, Sir Warham St. Leger, was well enough to lead the 
expedition. A reorganization was made: Lawrence Keymis was to lead the party; 
George Raleigh, a nephew, was to be sergeant-major, and Walter Raleigh, his 
son and heir, one of his captains. Using force only for self-defense, they were 
to proceed to the Caroni River to locate the mine, to bring back as much of 
the richest ore as they could carry, most of which would go to James as ransom. 
Raleigh was to wait near the Orinoco delta for the return of his mission. 

Just what went wrong is not clear. For some inexplicable reason, Keymis, 
instead of stealing past the Spanish fort of St. Thome in darkness to reach the 
entrance to the Caroni as had been planned, landed his forces on the south bank 
a few miles before reaching the town and anchored opposite the fort, remaining 
just out of range of the Spaniards. His soldiers, uncertain what to do, were 
settling for the night when they were attacked. Rallying his troops, young Walter 
("Wat") Raleigh, rushed into the fray. A single shot rang out, and Raleigh's 
heir fell dead, because (as an eye witness wrote) of "his unadvised daringness." 

The fiasco continued. Keymis made a half-hearted attempt to ascend the Caroni, 
but snipers from the shore continued to kill his men. Finally, after twenty-nine 
days, they returned to St. Thome, carrying white flags, but were fired upon. 
With only 150 men of his original 400 remaining, Keymis burned the city and 
turned downstream to face Sir Walter with the news of the death of his son 
and the end of his hopes for freedom. 

Raleigh had more sorrows than he could bear. The death of young Wat meant 
the end of his dreams of family, fame, and fortune. In his bitterness he upbraided 
Keymis, who, having told his tragic tale, retired to his cabin and shot himself. 
The ill Raleigh was half mad with pain and grief as he wrote a final letter 
from Trinidad: 43 

American Colonization through Raleigh's Eyes 119 

What shall become of me now, I know not: I am unpardoned in England, 
and my poor estate consumed; and whether any other Prince or State 
will give me bread, I know not. 

Seven months later, after long negotiations with Spain as to which nation 
should punish the grievous sinner Raleigh, King James withdrew his "pleasure" 
and the original punishment of 1603 was to be meted to the old knight. But 
again the soft heart of James mitigated the punishment. Raleigh was not be 
hanged, drawn, and quartered: he was to have a nobler punishment— beheading. 
So on 28 October 1618 Raleigh went to the scaffold where he played out his 
last act: Raleigh the man was dead; Raleigh the legend was born. 44 

Following his execution, a foolscap sheet was found in Raleigh's Bible, 
apparently written on the night before his death. 45 The first six lines were a 
slightly revised portion of a love poem he had written in his happier youth, 
while he was favored by his Queen: 

Even such is Time who takes in trust 
Our youth, our joys, and all we have, 
And pays us but with earth and dust: 
Who in the dark and silent grave, 
When we have wandered all our ways, 
Shuts up the stories of our days. 

To these Sir Walter had added a final couplet: 

But from that earth, that grave, that dust, 
The Lord shall raise me up, I trust. 


*Harry L. Watson, associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel 
Hill, introduced John W. Shirley as follows: "Like our principal subject, Walter Raleigh himself, 
John W. Shirley has distinguished himself as a renaissance man. His undergraduate training 
lay in the widely separated fields of literature and physics and he has continued to excell in 
the scientific and humanistic fields ever since, with a disdain for narrow specialization which 
has been most unfashionable in the twentieth century. He first taught English for five years 
at Michigan State University. With the outbreak of World War II, he deftly shifted to a stint 
in the Physics Department. After further experience teaching the history of science at Cal Tech 
and English once more, he joined the administration of North Carolina State University. From 
1962 to 1974, he served as H. Fletcher Brown professor in the history of science at the University 
of Delaware, as well as provost and vice president for academic affairs there, and acting president 
of the university in 1967 and 1968. 

"Retiring from those positions in 1974, John Shirley's real career — for our purposes — took 
off. In the thirteen years of his retirement, he has published five books on Renaissance men 
of science, including Thomas Harriot, A Biography and Sir Walter Ralegh and the New World. 
He has been honored with a Guggenheim fellowship, a medal from the University of Delaware, 
and two honorary degrees. His topic today is 'American Colonization Through Raleigh's Eyes.' " 

120 Raleigh and Quinn 

! Much of this paper is based on the pamphlet written by the author for America's Four 
Hundredth Anniversary Committee, Sir Whiter Ralegh and the New World (Raleigh: North Carolina 
Department of Cultural Resources, 1985). The most valuable work on this subject is still David 
B. Quinn's Raleigh and the British Empire (London: 1947, 1962, 1973). Also interesting is the 
Penguin Book edition of Andrew Sinclair's Sir Walter Raleigh and the Age of Discovery 
(Harmondsworth: 1984). 

2 See A.L. Rowse, Sir Walter Ralegh, His Family and Private Life (New York: Harper and Brothers, 

3 William Gilbert Gosling, The Life of Sir Humphrey Gilbert: England's First Empire Builder 
(Originally published, 1911: reprint Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1970). pp. 148-50. 
According to Quinn, this ship was in very bad condition and had been sold. 

4 See the old but still standard work by Edward Edwards, The Life of Sir Walter Raleigh, Based 
on Contemporary Documents, (London: Macmillan, 2 vols., 1868). For Raleigh's Irish service, 
see vol. II, chapter 3, pp. 35-47. 

5 John Aubrey, Brief Lives Chiefly of Contemporaries, Set Down by John Aubrey, Between the Years 
1669 and 1696, edited by Andrew Clark (Oxford: University Press, 2 vols., 1898. This from 
II, p. 180. 

6 David B. Quinn, "Stephen Parmenius of Buda, The First Hungarian in North America," 
New Hungarian Quarterly, 14 (1974): 152-57. 

7 John W. Shirley, Thomas Harriot: a Biography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), pp. 105-7. 

8 The first-hand account of this voyage by Captain Edward Haies is given in Gosling's Life 
of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, pp. 223-71. 

9 Jon V. Pepper, "Harriot's Earlier Work on Mathematical Navigation: Theory and Practice," 
in John W. Shirley (ed.), Thomas Harriot, Renaissance Scientist (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1974), 
pp. 54-90. 

10 A full bibliography of the publications of David B. Quinn up to mid-1976 is included in 
The Westward Enterprise: English Activities in Ireland, the Atlantic, and America 1480-1650, edited 
by K.R. Andrews, N.P. Canny, and P.E.H. Hair (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1979), 
pp. 303-9. Most important for this study are The Roanoke Voyages, 1584-90 (London: The 
Hakluyt Society, 2 vols. 1955); Virginia Voyages from Hakluyt (with Alison M. Quinn) (London: 
Oxford University Press, 1973); North America from Earliest Discovery to First Settlements, The 
Norse Voyages to 1612 (New York: Harper & Row, 1975); and Set Fair for Roanoke, Voyages and 
Colonies, 1584-1606 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985). 

n This was originally published in 1935 by E.G.R. Taylor in The Original Writings and 
Correspondence of the Two Richard Hakluyts (London: The Hakluyt Society, 1938), Document 
46, vol. 2, pp. 211-326. 

12 Ibid., p. 215. 

"Ibid., p. 239. 

"Ibid., p. 259. 

"Ibid., pp. 257-58. 

16 What is known and reasonably surmised about all the Roanoke colonies may be found 
in detail in Quinn, Set Fair for Roanoke. 

17 Quinn, Set Fair for Roanoke, pp. 295-97. 

18 Sir Robert Naunton, Fragmenta Regalia, or, Observations on Queen Elizabeth, her Times & 
Favorites, John S. Cerovski (ed.'), (Washington: The Folger Shakespeare Library, 1985), p. 71. 

19 Raleigh's two voyages to South Ameria and the Spanish documents relating to them are 
fully covered in two volumes by V.T. Harlow: The Discoverie of the large and bewtifull Empire 
of Guiana by Sir Walter Raleigh (London: The Argonaut Press, 1928); and Ralegh's Last Voyage, 
Being an account drawn out of contemporary letters and relations, both Spanish and English, of which 
the most part are now for the first time made public, concerning the voyage of Sir Walter Ralegh, knight, 
to Guiana in the year 1617 and the fatal consequences of the same (London: The Argonaut Press, 1932). 

American Colonization through Raleigh's Eyes 


20 Quotations from this 


are from the 





by Theatrvm Orbis 


i (Amsterdam and New York: 


The facsimile 



original pagination. 

2 Hbid. 

p. 4. 

22 Ibid. 

pp. 4-5. 

23 Ibid. 

p. 6. 

24 Ibid. 

pp. 6-7. 

2 Hbid. 

pp. 8-9. 

2b Ibid. 

p. 67. 

21 Ibid. 

pp. 67-68. 

2 *Ibid. 

p. 7. 

29 Ibid. 

p. 7. 

30 Ibid. 

p. 33. 

3 Hbid. 

p. 61. 

32 Ibid. 

p. 62. 

33 Ibid. 

p. 74. 

34 Idem 

35 Ibid. 

p. 81. 

36 Ibid. 

p. 80. 


p. 5. 

38 This work has also been published in facsimile as number 65 of "The English Experience" 
by Theatrvm Orbis Terrarvm (Amsterdam: 1968). 

39 Edwards, Life of Ralegh, vol. II, letter LXIX, 156. 

*°Ralegh's Last Voyage, 1. 

41 Robert Lacey, Sir Walter Ralegh (New York: Atheneum, 1974), p. 344. 

42 Edwards, Letters, Letter CLIII, II, 147. 

43 Edwards, Letters, Letter CLIV, II, 356. 

44 Thomas Harriot was present at Raleigh's execution; see John W. Shirley, Thomas Harriot, 
a Biography, pp. 443-49. 

45 Aubrey, Brief Lives, II, p. 190. 


Harry L. Watson (top), associate professsor at UNC-CH, introduced John W. Shirley 
(bottom right) and Karen Ordahl Kupperman. They spoke respectively on "American 
Colonization through Raleigh's Eyes" and "Raleigh's Dream of Empire." 

Raleigh's Dream of Empire 
and Its Seventeenth-Century Career 

Karen Ordahl Kupperman* 

Sir Walter Raleigh's plans for a great British empire in America actually 
encompassed all the elements that would make future colonies succeed. His plans 
also included all the seeds of failure. Colonial strategists were engaged, for almost 
three-quarters of a century following Raleigh's pioneering ventures at Roanoke, 
in attempting to part the strands, to separate the ingredients of success from 
those of failure. Their inability easily to distinguish the two led to many trials 
and much suffering; but Raleigh's vision also gave promoters and colonists such 
hope for future accomplishments that the early feeble plantations were sustained 
over their rocky beginnings. 

Raleigh himself came to be a great symbol to later proponents of empire, 
but, because his legacy was so ambiguous, he was taken to stand for different 
goals by each group that honored him. Before the Elizabethan inheritance could 
be put in proper perspective, promoters had to decide what the British empire 
should accomplish. Goals and means to goals had to be clearly delineated. 

When England first turned its colonial sights from nearby Ireland to America 
in the 1580s, goals for a British empire were well-known but vague. First and 
foremost, England, as the leader of the Protestant nations, sought to defy the 
Spanish superpower, to cut off the Indian gold that fed Spain's campaign to 
force the return of European Protestants to Roman Catholicism. The second 
set of goals followed naturally from the first: ventures in America would build 
the English nation's wealth and honor, would raise England from a backward 
little country on the fringe of Europe to great nation status. 

Finally, promoters looked for personal enrichment and aggrandizement from 
overseas adventures. Great hopes of fabled wealth were translated into the assump- 
tion that rightly conducted expeditions would return groaning under a load 
of gold and rich commodities. Such expectations were crucial because Queen 
Elizabeth, while keeping control of foreign policy in her own hands, conducted 
it through the ventures of private men. When relations with Spain ruptured 
into open war in the middle of the 1580s, the Queen opened the door to pri- 
vateering, privately financed attacks on the Spanish treasure fleet as it made its 
slow, clumsy way from Havana to Seville. English with money to spare invested 
it in small fleets sent out in hopes that they might detach one of the great 
treasure ships from its escort and return vast profits to the investors. Even cap- 
ture of much smaller independent ships loaded with cargos of cochineal or hides 
could make a venture worthwhile. 

124 Raleigh and Quinn 

Those who invested did so out of a desire to enhance England's status while 
striking at Spain, but the chance for gain was crucial: no investments would 
have taken place without that incentive. Elizabeth knew this; it was the key 
to her strategy. The government encouraged such ventures but did not formally 
fund them. However, through the grant of monopolies to royal favorites such 
as Raleigh, Queen Elizabeth in effect redistributed the nation's resources. By 
allowing men she trusted to control and derive income from key import and 
manufacturing sectors, the Queen made possible the concentration of resources 
in the hands of those who would use them for great projects. She chose wisely 
in Raleigh. 

Raleigh was prepared to reinvest the wealth produced by the vast estates and 
monopolies of everything from the importation of sweet wines to the mining 
and processing of tin in Cornwall showered on him by the Queen in the country's 
and his own interest. He argued that an American base to which privateers 
could come for repairs and victualling would prolong the season for preying 
on Spain's far-flung and ill-protected empire, weakening the enemy and enhancing 
England's power at the same time. Thus the idea for a settlement at Roanoke 
was born. 

When models were sought for such a colony, it was natural to reach for 
the idea of a military outpost, able to defend itself against both Spanish and 
Indian enemies and knowledgeable about the needs of the privateers. Military 
expeditions had been sent to Ireland and to the continent, and that familiar 
model seemed appropriate. Such a force could also reasonably be expected to 
conduct reconnoitering expeditions into the interior in search of precious minerals 
and even the hoped-for passage through the continent to the Pacific. If sources 
of wealth within English-American territory were discovered and added to that 
to be derived from attacking the Spanish, then a great British Empire might 
quickly become a reality. 

There was only one problem with this model: it could not succeed. Later 
experience proved conclusively that military outposts always failed, and the reasons 
now seem obvious. Colonists could not be completely dependent on a lifeline 
to Europe. It was just too risky; as the events of the Armada year and the desertion 
of the last Roanoke colony showed, events at home or the financial reverses 
of investors, not to mention the difficulties of Atlantic travel, all could leave 
colonists stranded. Plantations must be self-sustaining if they were to survive, 
and this meant that settlers must come expecting to devote themselves to pro- 
viding food, shelter, and supplies for the colony. 

So, investors must not expect colonists to return valuable commodities to 
England for some time; they must even expect to put in money over many 
years without such a return because no colony could become completely self- 
sufficient. In the event, promoters found that the privateering war of the 1590s 
went very well without a base such as had been planned at Roanoke. English 

Raleigh's Dream of Empire 125 

ships were able to spend long periods in the West Indies and did not need access 
to an English station for relief. J As long as the main goals of English American 
expeditions remained hit and run attacks on Spanish territory and the wealth 
they brought in, colonies were an expensive irrelevance. 

Most of the Elizabethans were content to restrict English activities to such 
patriotic piracy, but Raleigh's vision was much more complex and farseeing. 
In the final attempt to found a colony at Roanoke under his monopoly patent, 
he and his associates completely restructured the venture. Though this set of 
colonists was abandoned and therefore "lost," the 1587 Roanoke plantation had 
all the design elements of a successful settlement. Seventeenth-century promoters 
finally returned to this model after prolonged and repeated failures. Though 
Jamestown was founded just twenty years after the final Roanoke colony, a decade 
of failure would intervene before the new Virginia colony gave up the fatally 
flawed military outpost model and moved to introduce private ownership of 
land and the family life that made such property rights meaningful. Plymouth 
Colony in New England, founded near the time of this transition, followed 
the correct plan from the beginning, as did all mainland English colonies from 
this time forward. 

What were the ingredients of a successful colony that can be seen in plans 
for the 1587 City of Raleigh? In the first place, it was sponsored by a small 
corporation, the institution which, in future colonies, would provide the con- 
sistency of support impossible for a single individual. Settlers were recruited 
as families, and the lure of freehold estates in land, as much as 500 acres, was 
held out to them. No colony made up exclusively of young men ever sustained 
itself; the military outpost form implied rotation back to the home country. 
Only the presence of women and children led to that permanent commitment 
without which success was always elusive, and only private property in land 
would attract the kind of substantial and hard-working families who could endure 
the isolation and uncertainty and build a replica of English society in America. 

Most important of all, the plans for the City of Raleigh meant a wholly 
new concept of what colonies were to accomplish for England. Though Raleigh's 
interest in the privateering war continued, he demonstrated his understanding 
that the real future of English America lay in a long-term commitment, and 
the painstaking construction of a new polity on American shores. Implicitly 
the City of Raleigh plans acknowledged that the search for gold, and swash- 
buckling adventures such as Raleigh was still to seek in Guiana, were only one 
model and much less solid for the long run. El Dorado might exist, and he 
devoutly hoped so, but the City of Raleigh was to exist in fact. 

This element had always been present in Raleigh's thinking, as can be seen 
in his sending John White and Thomas Hariot to Roanoke to document the 
economic possibilities of the area. Hariot's Briefe and True Report of the New 
Found Land of Virginia (1588) emphasized that America was a land filled with 

126 Raleigh and Quinn 

economic resources, but he spotlighted humble commodities for development 
rather than rich prizes to be picked up and carried home by soldiers. His report 
made clear that only through a long process of settlement and experimentation 
could a colony reach an acceptable stage of productivity. Once that stage was 
reached, the products would be items of importance to the English economy, 
dyes and fibers for the textile industry or wood for the timber-poor country, 
but not glamorous or intrinsically valuable commodities. Mundane goods pro- 
duced by ordinary people would be the wave of the future. 2 

Raleigh's vision thus held two lines of thought about the future of English 
America. On the one hand he believed to his last day that there was gold for 
England in the New World and that bold strokes and daring adventures would 
uncover it. In these exploits the English David would confront the Spanish 
Goliath, "the sword of that Antichrist of Rome," 3 and, by crippling the flow 
of gold to Hapsburg coffers, protect beleaguered Protestants everywhere. Per- 
sonal aggrandizement, patriotism, and religious nationalism all worked together 
in the grand scheme. This was not a game for the faint of heart; only the daring 
would win. 

But at the same time Raleigh looked to development of true colonies, settle- 
ments of English men and women working toward self-sufficiency, who would 
contribute to the growth of a very different British Empire, one founded on 
world trade in basic commodities. Whereas the first line of thought involved 
enormous waste both of lives and money, expenditure that would be repaid 
only when and if the big strike occurred, the second required investment of 
labor, skills and lives on a very different level. These two traditions were com- 
patible in Raleigh's mind. Even though he had moved to the second model 
with the 1587 colony, there is evidence that he still hoped to found a privateer- 
ing base on the coast. And his first voyage to Guiana in search of gold and 
in defiance of Spain was to occur in the next decade. 

The plain fact is that the two approaches to an American empire were never 
compatible. In the seventeenth century promoters and colonists would unravel 
the two strands that Raleigh had twisted together and would eventually under- 
stand that each blocked the realization of the other goal. This should have been 
apparent even in the sixteenth century; the expectations built by Roanoke's origins 
in the privateering war led to actions that destroyed the chances of the 1587 
plantation. 4 The writings of John White, governor of that "lost" colony, are 
filled with his anguish as he related how the ships carrying the settlers, and 
later vessels that went to find them, diverted from course time and again for 
privateering opportunities. And of course, the settlement would not have been 
abandoned had it not been for the threat of the Spanish Armada, itself an attempt 
to cut off English privateering at its source. 5 

Clarity about goals and means would not be won so easily. Anyone could 
see that Roanoke had failed twice with two different models; it would have 

Raleigh's Dream of Empire 127 

taken unusual insight to see that one model was always doomed to failure and 
the other would ultimately be the key to success. The Virginia Companies, 
founding their colonies just two decades after the last Roanoke colonists were 
left in America, did not possess extraordinary insight. It must have been galling 
to Raleigh as he watched from his prison in the Tower of London the suffering 
and defeats of the new Virginia colonies. 

Raleigh's exclusive right to control colonization in Virginia, as all of North 
America's east coast was then known, lapsed with his arrest. New, more limited, 
patents were issued to two Virginia companies in 1606. The western merchants' 
company, headquartered in Bristol, was to sponsor colonization in the "North 
Part" of Virginia, sometimes called Norembega and later New England, and 
the London company was to found a settlement in Chesapeake Bay, the ideal 
location discovered by an exploring venture from Roanoke. 

Both these colonies repeated the mistakes of Roanoke. Each was planned as 
a military outpost and neither, therefore, benefited from clear notions of how 
the colony would serve England. Jamestown's planners had learned one signifi- 
cant lesson: this venture was backed by a joint-stock company of massive pro- 
portions. Shares were sold throughout the country and patriots invested, thus 
guaranteeing a level and continuity of support Raleigh could never have supplied. 
But they returned to the military outpost model with its assumption that all 
colonists worked for the company and would be rotated home eventually. Raleigh 
himself, with his taint of treason, was not consulted by the new colony's de- 
signers. Thomas Hariot, the greatest English expert on America and its resources, 
appeared before a meeting of the Council for Virginia in London to answer 
questions, and his book was read avidly, but apparently there was no attempt 
to include him systematically in the planning process. 6 

The outpouring of support for the Jamestown colony reflected patriotic frus- 
tration over the pacifist policies of the new king, James I, first of the Stuart 
line. At his accession James, determined to avoid that most expensive of early 
modern projects, war, brought privateering to a screeching halt. Saddled with 
a king who seemed determined to conciliate rather than confront Spain, English 
patriots sought to defy the national enemy in the one way that remained open: 
the settlement of a colony that would forever preclude Spanish expansion north- 
ward from the Florida peninsula. 

But Virginia Company planners, ignoring the lessons of Roanoke, commanded 
their emissaries to find gold, and quickly. As they sought sources of gold up 
the mighty rivers that flowed into Chesapeake Bay, the explorers were also to 
find the passage through the American continent to the riches of the East. No 
one doubted that such a passage existed, and no one had any idea of the extent 
of the continent. The Virginia settlers spent the crucial first weeks on such 
searches rather than preparing for independent life over the winter. John Smith's 
scorn still resounds as he wrote of the "gilded refiners with their golden promises, 

128 Raleigh and Quinn 

[who] made all men their slaves in hope of recompence; there was no talke, 
no hope, no worke, but dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, load gold. . . ." As 
a result, Smith and the few other experienced men saw "all necessarie businesse 
neglected, to fraught such a drunken ship with so much gilded durt." 7 And in 
that first winter, unusually severe even for the Little Ice Age of the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries, the little colony saw the deaths of two thirds of its 

Nothing so clearly shows the muddle-headedness of the outpost's leaders as 
their neglect of the third charge in their commission: to search for "them there 
left by Sir Walter Raleigh." The settlers must have realized that these immi- 
grants of twenty years' experience could have provided invaluable aid to the 
new venture. Though they heard various rumors of people clothed like Euro- 
peans whose skills made them valuable to the villages in which they lived, small 
and belated efforts were made to find the Roanoke remnant, and the idea that 
they were all dead was readily accepted. All the colonists' energies went into 
the search for immediate profits; as they had little left to construct a viable 
town, they also spared few for such a vague and possibly fruitless search. 8 

Meanwhile the equally small Bristol merchants' settlement at Sagadahoc in 
Maine experienced that severe winter in discouragement so great that the colonists 
returned to England in less than a year. The reasons for that failure are complex, 
but at heart the problem lay in the western merchants' inability to provide the 
level and continuity of support such a venture required. Dashed hopes for 
commodities, built by summer-only ventures whose reports on the New England 
environment had been very favorable, made the task of attracting investors all 
but impossible. Sagadahoc was too far from the Caribbean to provide a base 
from which Spanish ships could be attacked if a new twist in foreign policy 
should make that possible. Nor did its cold climate and rocky shores hold out 
much hope for rich commodities. New England settlements would never be 
attractive until the goals for British America were clarified. Once again, the 
problem centered on deciding what colonies were to be for. 9 

Sagadahoc was allowed to die, but Jamestown, though its career had been 
as wretched, was the object of a renewed effort to attract investors and con- 
tinued royal support. Preachers made an English presence in America a Protes- 
tant crusade and hopes were rekindled. Softness in government and lack of a 
critical mass were diagnosed as the causes of failure. The fresh charter of 1609 
made possible a new government and a large fleet filled with colonists. One 
positive benefit was lost in the new plans: the presence of John Smith, who 
was pushed out of the presidency and the colony by his antagonists, now re- 
inforced from London. 

John Smith's career in America was essentially over; one brief reconnaissance 
in New England in 1614 was his only contact here after he left Virginia. What 
the colonies lost in leadership, the empire gained in his new role as theorist 

Raleigh's Dream of Empire 129 

and publicist. As he wrote he developed his notions, implicit in his earliest 
writings, of what the British Empire should be into a mature plan for England's 
future. Though he and Raleigh could not have been more different in their 
origins and style, in many ways Smith became the Raleigh of the early Stuart 
period. He fought for his vision of a great English nation just as Raleigh had 
done, and he combined writing and action to create a powerful case and a degree 
of authority few could approach. 

At first glance Raleigh and Smith could not seem more dissimilar. We think 
of Sir Walter as the witty favorite at the glittering Elizabethan court, his great 
pearl earring his trademark, while plain John Smith was the son of a yeoman 
farmer whose aspirations for his son reached only to the status of a provincial 
merchant. Raleigh was educated at Oxford and the Inns of Court; Smith was 
lucky to receive a grammar school education. 

But in some ways the differences are apparent only. Both men went off to 
the European wars of religion, the university of war as Smith called it, at about 
fourteen or fifteen; it was a brutual transition to adult life. Though Raleigh 
returned to attend the universities, both men were largely self-taught through 
their reading, and, though at different stages of life, through their membership 
in literary circles in the capital. Raleigh had a distinguished family name, but 
neither man inherited wealth; each had to make his own way to fame. And, 
for both the path to renown was self-advertisement and advocacy of a vigorous 
imperial policy. 

When we think of John Smith, his denunciations of the effete gentlemen 
who fell apart in the hardships of Jamestown, where "a plaine Souldier that 
can use a Pick-axe and spade, is better than five Knights," always come to mind. 
But would he not have included Raleigh in his argument that "discovering things 
unknowne" and adding a new kingdom to "our Native mother-countrie" was 
a role for "men that have great spirits, and smal meanes"? His scorn was re- 
served for those "descended nobly" who consumed their substance idly, not 
returning service for the honors and wealth they inherited. 10 

The real difference between the two imperialists from our point of view lies 
in the single-mindedness of Smith. Whereas Raleigh at the height of his power 
presided over manifold schemes, including competing colonies in Ireland, and 
the division of his attention contributed to the abandonment of the Roanoke 
colony, Smith devoted himself exclusively and tirelessly to the promotion of 
a British empire in America. Smith called Virginia and New England his children, 
"for they have bin my wife, my hawks, my hounds, my cards, my dice, and 
in totall my best content." 11 

Other men claimed the mantle of the great Elizabethans. These were, like 
Raleigh, great gentlemen and aristocrats, grandees for whom direction of na- 
tional policy was a natural role. Men such as Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick, 
and his cousin and man of business Sir Nathaniel Rich; William Fiennes, first 

130 Raleigh and Quinn 

Viscount Saye and Sele; Robert Greville, Lord Brooke; Edward Montague, Lord 
Mandeville and the Civil War Earl of Manchester; Sir Thomas Barington; Sir 
Benjamin Rudyerd; and John Pym would have expected in normal times to 
be close advisors of the government. In the increasingly polarized English polit- 
ical situation of the 1620s and 1630s, however, these Puritan lords and gentle- 
men found themselves frozen out. They saw England, the Elect Nation, turning 
its back on the cause of true religion as the Hapsburg war machine fought to 
re-establish Roman Catholicism in reformed states. When Charles I and Buck- 
ingham were pushed to aid the Protestant cause in Europe, the expeditions were 
so poorly planned and mounted that they accomplished little except humiliation; 
accumulations of troops in England led to suspicion that the government's goal 
was to harry the English into an unwelcome Arminian religious settlement leading 
ultimately to restoration of Roman Catholicism. 

Religious and political causes were seen as intertwined; popery and tyranny 
were two sides of the same coin. These grandees, as Puritans, were viewed with 
suspicion by a monarch and his advisors who saw them as a potentially hostile 
force and who denied them the leadership role they saw as theirs by right. In 
the civil war of the 1640s these Puritan lords and gentlemen would take up 
that position; in the 1620s and 1630s they put their energies into encouraging 
colonization and, where possible, into Elizabethan-style privateering attacks on 
Spanish ships. 12 

Raleigh, executed to conciliate the king of Spain in 1618, was claimed as a 
symbol by these men. John Pym, the acknowledged leader of the Parliament 
during the early years of civil war, recorded his impressions of Raleigh's execu- 
tion in his manuscript of Memorable Accidents: "A.D. 1618. Sir Walter Raleigh 
'had the favour to be beheaded at Westminister, where he died with great 
applause of the beholders, most constantly, most Christianly, most religiously.' " 
Pym's speeches, like those of most in his circle, show the powerful influence 
of Raleigh's writings. 13 They kept alive his aggressive anti-Spanish policies and 
his dream of a glorious British empire in America. Some of them were involved 
in the Virginia Company and oversaw the splitting off of the Somers Islands 
or Bermuda Company as a separate entity which they largely controlled. In 
1630 they founded their own colony, sponsored by a company whose member- 
ship was forever to be restricted to a handful of great men, on Providence Island 
off the coast of Nicaragua. This plantation was expected to develop commodities 
of value, but privateering was clearly a primary goal from the very beginning. 
They were to be the Raleighs of the mid- seventeenth century. 

How can both John Smith and the Puritan grandees be the heirs of the Eliz- 
abethan tradition? The answer is that the contradictory strands of Raleigh's 
policies were untwisted in the seventeenth century; Smith took up one aspect 
of Raleigh's thinking, and the lords and gentlemen made the other their own. 
The Puritan grandees seem the obvious inheritors of the Elizabethan tradition. 

Raleigh's Dream of Empire 131 

Though they lacked the patronage of the court, they had the necessary style. 
Their social and political positions gave them the self-confidence, their educa- 
tions the vision, of a Raleigh. They willingly took up his brief in the 1620s 
and 1630s; in their minds as in the previous generation's, national greatness and 
defiance of Spain were irresistably bound together with American empire. As 
long as the monarchy turned its back on these historic aims England was doomed 
to a secondary status among the nations of Europe. If the light of true religion 
were allowed to go out on the continent, then God might withdraw his elec- 
tion of England. They wanted nothing less than that the nation live up to its 

Their goal was a government that would, as in the days of Elizabeth, take 
up the leadership role natural to a country preeminent among Protestant nations. 
When faced with Stuart intransigence, they determined to do what they could 
and to bide their time until the government came to its senses. Though their 
attention ultimately was on Europe, they, like Raleigh, saw the New World 
as crucial to their campaign. American gold fueled the vast Hapsburg bureau- 
cracy and armies; to the extent that privateers could choke off that supply, the 
effectiveness of the Roman Catholic forces in Europe would be diminished. 

Cutting Spain off from American treasure was only half the battle. True great- 
ness would come to England with the development of its own sources of Indian 
riches. In this quest the Puritan grandees, like Raleigh, looked to the south. 
Scientific lore of the day connected treasure with hot regions. Gold and pre- 
cious minerals were said to be nurtured in the earth by the warmth of the sun's 
rays and drawn to the surface by its magnetic power. Moreover, England, with 
its northern location and cool maritime climate, lacked ability to produce the 
rich commodities that thrive only in frost-free regions. Britain would never be 
great till it established free access to the centers from which such products came. 

This was not an effete search for spices and silks; it was a hard-headed re- 
sponse to England's problems. The county seats of these lords and gentlemen 
lay in England's cloth-producing areas, regions hit hard by the massive depression 
of the 1620s. Bad harvests, resulting from Little Ice Age conditions, sharpened 
suffering, and the grandees determined to help. One problem was that the English 
textile industry, leader of the nation's economy, was being outclassed by new 
continental techniques. The fibers, dyes, oils, and fixatives necessary to a revival 
of the cloth industry came largely from warmer areas. Thus England was captive 
to the whim of countries who were at least potential enemies. Only a secure 
source of such commodities, owned and run by Englishmen, would free the 
country of such lurking danger. 

Charles I, who succeeded to the crown in 1625, quickly made it clear that 
he would not choose his advisors from among these Puritan lords and gentlemen; 
as he seemed to move closer to Arminianism in religion and defiance of Parli- 
ament in his politics, they determined to act. Shortly after Charles's dissolution 

132 Raleigh and Quinn 

of Parliament and his determination to call it no more in 1629, they met to 
organize the Providence Island Company. The colony they founded, planted 
in 1630 and falling to Spanish attack on the eve of the English Civil War in 
1641, was intended to develop the products England needed. Every year settlers 
there received directions to develop dozens of commodities, most of which they 
ignored. In fact the economy of the island quickly focused on tobacco, which 
was never of good quality, and some cotton; the demands that they develop 
dozens of exotic crops were largely ignored. 

Providence Island failed in part because the grandees perpetuated those ele- 
ments in Raleigh's thinking that could not succeed. The small size of the com- 
pany, reminiscent of the small City of Raleigh corporation, meant that the 
investors, rich as they were, would find the venture a continual drain on their 
resources. Colonists also found the experience draining; though the company 
encouraged families to emigrate, all settlers were tenants working for the com- 
pany as much as for themselves. The many suggestions for new commodities 
were interpreted by the planters as intolerable pressure, which was met by obstinate 
refusal to shift from the tobacco that, poor as it was, still represented a sort 
of security to the beleaguered colonists. 

Most important, the company's demand for gain and for exotic products for 
England when combined with their desire to continue Elizabethan defiance of 
Spain required that the colony be planted deep in the Spanish empire. It was 
important to the company's program that the island be an outpost of godly 
English people, but its location and mixture of goals meant that its govern- 
ment must always be in the hands of military men. As in the first Roanoke 
colony, the captains and their lieutenants often saw matters very differently than 
did those whose goal was to develop agricultural commodities. Tension was 
inevitable and often threatened to tear the little colony apart. 

From the beginning the Providence Island Company hoped to use the island, 
as Raleigh had planned for Roanoke, as a base for privateering attacks on Span- 
ish ships. When that became possible halfway through the settlement's decade 
of life, the tensions were intolerable. The adventurers confronted the lesson that 
Raleigh had faced in the sixteenth century: planting a replica of English society 
was incompatible with the goal of providing a military base for buccaneering 
activities. Though the two goals were inextricably linked in backers' minds because 
both were meant to enhance English power, in fact they must be separated if 
either were to be realized. 14 

The Puritan grandees were still unclear about the nature of the lesson. They 
extrapolated from the wreckage of their colony the notion that failure had been 
due, not to ill-conceived goals, but to paucity of support: success would come 
only when the Stuarts put the full power of the government behind a national 
foreign policy that aimed to cripple the Roman Catholic forces led by Spain 
and to found a great British Empire. Like Raleigh, they believed that if England 

Raleigh's Dream of Empire 133 

were to participate in this high-stakes game, the focus must be on the Carib- 
bean, source of wealth and crossroads of world trade. 

When the civil war brought Oliver Cromwell to power, the dream was at 
last within reach. Cromwell was grounded in the great Protestant imperial tradi- 
tion; as Lord Protector he put his full moral and political authority behind the 
Western Design, a scheme to oust the Spanish and build a mighty British presence 
in the Caribbean. Many of his advisors argued that, so corrupt and weak had 
the Iberians become, it would be possible from island beachheads to seize the 
mainland of Central America and possibly even to spread English influence 
throughout the southern regions. 

Bitter lessons had to be learned again. Cromwell, like Elizabeth, tried to sub- 
stitute enthusiasm for support. The combined naval and military operation was 
poorly planned and undersupplied; men died in large numbers, and, as in James- 
town, disorientation and despair led to apathetic behavior that doomed many. 
The Western Design that aimed at Hispaniola but succeeded in taking only 
Jamaica was truly the heir of almost a century of propaganda. So thoroughly 
had Cromwell and his closest advisors absorbed the notion that God intended 
the English, as bearers of true religion, to control the New World that they 
substituted faith in divine providence for hard-headed assessment of the prob- 
lems and prospects of their plans. 15 

The apparent judgement of God, reflected in failure of the great campaign, 
was so stunning that Cromwell repeatedly sought its meaning in national days 
of prayer and fasting. Blair Worden argues that it was his dejection over failure 
of the Western Design that led Cromwell to make what Worden calls his most 
devastating mistake: the refusal of the crown. 16 

With the failure of the Western Design the weakness of one strand of the 
Raleigh legacy was clearly demonstrated. As Cromwell and his advisors contem- 
plated their failure, the English island colonies that would make their contribution 
in commodity production and trade were building for a very different future. 
The Caribbean would be important to the English empire, but in a way unlike 
that envisaged in the great Elizabethan tradition. Sugar, not gold, was to bring 
prosperity; and prosperity was to be built on a system as exploitative of unwilling 
human labor as any that the Spanish had instituted. True religion had very little 
to do with it. 

The other strand in Raleigh's legacy was also being woven into a pattern 
in the first half of the seventeenth century, and this fabric quietly and unex- 
pectedly proved its durability. The City of Raleigh model proved to be the key 
to success in North America. No colony flourished unless it adopted this form. 
Successful colonies were sponsored by corporations that guaranteed continuity 
of support. More important, they were composed of families that came to Amer- 
ica with the intention of supporting themselves and of committing themselves 
to life here. In order to attract such families, promoters had to offer private 

134 Raleigh and Quinn 

property in land. This proved to be the single most important element: sub- 
stantial and hardworking English people would emigrate to secure the stake 
that land ownership represented. Other promises were simply much less impor- 
tant than this one; all manner of other inducements would not suffice if this 
was lacking and little else was needed if land was guaranteed. 

The successful model involved production of commodities; all who emigrated 
must expect to get their hands dirty. Glorious military exploits that led to 
acquisition of gold were not part of this program; nor were the great gentlemen 
who expected to perform such feats. Solid, middling English subjects would 
build true colonies through their own labor. 

John Smith was one of the first to realize that only commodity-producing 
plantations would flourish. As he reflected on the experience of Virginia and 
his own impressions of New England, as well as his thorough knowledge of 
the Roanoke documents, he began to develop an increasingly sophisticated theory 
of empire and of England's future. It was to be a future in which the merchants, 
not grandees, would make and carry out plans. Great gentlemen would lend 
their names, their connections at court and, perhaps, money, as Raleigh did 
in the final Roanoke colony but, as in that venture, control would stay with 
the merchants. Much of Smith's theory could have been generated by anyone 
who studied the empires of the early seventeenth century. It was Smith who 
put all the pieces together in a coherent program. 

Rather than focus on the south as the Puritan grandees did, Smith sought 
to attract attention for New England which he said had been "esteemed as a 
cold, barren, mountainous, rocky Desart" after the Sagadahoc plantation's fail- 
ure. 17 Smith was disturbed by Virginia's commitment to planting tobacco, not 
a commodity to make England great, and pictured the settlers "rooting in the 
ground about Tobacco like Swine." 18 

Smith's basic argument was that, in seeking to emulate Spain, England was 
backing the wrong model entirely. Spain was merely a conduit through which 
Indian gold flowed to European banks that held the bankrupt monarchy's notes. 
Gold, any easily won wealth, could never lead to proper growth of a true soci- 
ety that must be based on commitment and hard work. While Smith admired 
the great early Spanish explorers and colonizers, he argued that the empire they 
established had become soft and parasitic because no proper foundation had been 
laid. 19 He believed it was the height of folly for the English, seduced by dreams 
of wealth and blinded by propaganda, to become in their turn parasitic on that 
already corrupt empire. 

The correct model was Holland. While the lords and gentlemen had been 
hypnotized by the lure of southern gold, the Dutch had become "mighty, strong, 
and rich" by dealing in the "contemptible trade of fish." Smith devoted himself 
to laying out the opportunities that the north offered, and he underscored his 
point by christening the region New England, emphasizing its affinity with 

Raleigh's Dream of Empire 135 

his native land. He wrote page after page about the kinds of fish there taken, 
the small outlay necessary to set up in fishing which opened the trade to humble 
men, and the probable rewards, and he returned repeatedly to his lesson: "let 
not the meannesse of the word fish distaste you, for it will afford as good gold 
as the Mines of Guiana or Potassie, with lesse hazard and charge, and more 
certainty and facility. 20 

Smith pictured America as a land of independent smallholders, each of whom 
worked hard because he worked for his own posterity. In trade as on the land, 
the small venturer was increasingly important; merchants with one or two ships 
built the nation's wealth as they increased their own. Perhaps nothing sets Smith 
off from the grandees and their interpretation of the Raleigh legacy so much 
as his attitude toward privateering; where they pictured patriotic ravaging of 
the treasure ships of Antichrist's sword, Smith saw instead activities that harmed 
those very small merchants who were doing the real work. He wrote that "It 
is strange to see what great adventures the hopes of setting forth men of war 
to rob the industrious innocent, would procure." 21 In fact, Smith was correct; 
though we always hear of capture of a few great Spanish carracks loaded with 
treasure, most privateers made their money in taking small ships loaded with 
commodities; ventures indeed were sent out "to rob some poore Merchant or 
honest fisher men." 22 

Smith's program— widespread ownership of family farms and small entrepre- 
neurship on the seas combined in a commitment to build a secure new English 
society in America — places the captain in company that at first sight looks im- 
possible. His model was first tried in its entirety by the Puritan settlers of 
Massachusetts Bay. They did not, of course, set out to emulate Smith's plan; 
it was he who pointed out to them that they were in fact following his pro- 
gram. His last and most philosophical book, Advertisements for the Unexperienced 
Planters of New England, or Any Where, written as the Bay Colony was estab- 
lished, gloried in the fact that at last a true British Empire existed in America. 
If Massachusetts Bay succeeded as he thought it would, it would be "a great 
glory and exceeding good to the Kingdome, to make good at last what all our 
former conclusions have disgraced." He acknowledged that the Puritan settlers 
might be "more precise [in religion] than needs," but argued that they, unlike 
the Separatists struggling to hold on at Plymouth, were good and loyal sub- 
jects as well as substantial planters. 23 

It is ironic that the two strands of the Raleigh legacy were both taken up 
by Puritan activists in the 1630s and beyond. One, the line that argued for defiance 
of Spain and settlement as an aid to privateering, failed as it had failed before. 
The other, the thread that at first looked so slender, the erection of plantations 
of nearly self-sufficient smallholders, ultimately proved successful. The Puritanism 
of Massachusetts Bay's founders has often been pointed to as the special ingredient 
that led to success, but when that colony's experience is set against that of the 

136 Raleigh and Quinn 

grandees the argument falls apart, for the grandees were equally Puritan. 

John Smith, as usual, had the answer to the puzzle. Though throughout 
his life he was protected and sponsored by high-born benefactors, Smith addressed 
his appeal to the broad middling group and the merchants. His conception of 
empire offered the independence they valued. He portrayed an America where 
neither the landlord nor the lawyer troubled planters, and the lure was powerful. 
Once Virginia instituted the headright system, servants signed on in the thousands 
at least in part because of the promise of fifty acres when their indenture was 
up. The thousands who emigrated to New England went primarily for religious 
reasons, but the land offered by Massachusetts communities was also a powerful 

English men and women did not want to go to America to work for others, 
even if such work held out the promise of great wealth. They sought the liberty 
that came only with ownership of a homestead, even if that land produced a 
rude sufficiency. Raleigh realized this when he endorsed the plan for the City 
of Raleigh with its grandiose offer of 500 acres. Only after much suffering and 
waste of resources and human life would colonizers return to this realization. 
John Smith and the substantial men who organized the Bay Colony were the 
first who saw this lesson with clarity. 

Raleigh's dream of empire thus lived on in the seventeeenth century; it carried 
with it both success and failure. Even after the successful model had been establish- 
ed in Massachusetts and accepted in the Chesapeake, Puritan gentlemen in England 
hoped for realization of the first, the militant Protestant and anti- Spanish, strand. 
Not until the failure of the Western Design in the 1650s did they come to ac- 
cept that the promise held out by that line of thought, the establishment of 
a British Empire in the south based on privateering, was illusory and perhaps 
unworthy. It was a dream that died hard; the reality, trade in "contemptible" 
commodities, was difficult to accept, involving as it did a wholly different view 
of England's future and of the aristocrat's place in that future. Few were as keen 
as Smith on a world where merchants dominated. 


* Introducing Karen Kupperman, Harry L. Watson said: "Like our first speaker, Karen Ordahl 
Kupperman is an outstanding historian of early America who has made special contributions 
to our understanding of that field through applications of the history of science — in her case, 
through knowledge of ethnohistory, the historical effect of climate, and the history of medicine. 
She received her graduate training at Harvard University and Cambridge University. She has 
taught at the University of Connecticut since 1978 and now holds the rank of full professor. 
She has received distinguished fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, the Mellon 
Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and most recently, the National 
Humanities Center at Research Triangle Park. 

Raleigh's Dream of Empire 137 

"Dr. Kupperman is the author of twelve scholarly essays on early colonial history, one of 
which, 'Apathy and Death in Early Jamestown,' won her the Binkley-Stephenson Award in 
1984 for the best article published in the Journal of American History. We in North Carolina 
know her best, perhaps, as the author of Roanoke: The Abandoned Colony, an excellent short 
book on Sir Walter Raleigh's most famous experiment. She is also the author of Settling with 
the Indians: The Meeting of English and Indian Cultures in America, 1580-1640 and the editor 
of two forthcoming collections of important documents, a one-volume edition of the works 
of Captain John Smith and a microfilm edition of the papers relating to the settlement of 
Providence Island in the Caribbean. She will speak to us today on 'Raleigh's Dream of Empire 
and Its Seventeenth Century Career.'" 

*On the privateering war of the 1590s, see Kenneth R. Andrews, Elizabethan Privateering: 
English Privateering During the Spanish War, 1585-1603 (Cambridge: 1964). 

2 Thomas Hariot's Brief and True Report is available in several forms. A fully annotated version, 
along with all other documents pertaining to the Roanoke colonies, can be found in David 
Beers Quinn (ed.), The Roanoke Voyages, 1584-1590, (London: 2 vols. 1955). A facsimile of 
the 1590 edition, with the woodcuts made by Theodor DeBry of the John White paintings, 
has been published by Dover Books (New York: 1972). A selection of Roanoke documents, 
including the Brief and True Report, is available from the North Carolina Department of Cultural 
Resources, Division of Archives and History: David and Alison Quinn (eds.), The First Colonists: 
Documents on the Planting of the First English Settlements in North America, 1584-1590 (Raleigh: 

3 This phrase occurs in a letter sent by Ralph Lane, governor of the 1585 Roanoke colony, 
to Sir Francis Walsingham, August 12, 1585. Quinn (ed.), The Roanoke Voyages, I, 203. 

4 Kenneth Andrews argues that the emphasis on privateering and on "petty enterprise" of 
the 1590s diverted Elizabethan foreign policy from more important goals and therefore was 
destructive of more than Roanoke. "Elizabethan Privateering," The Harte Lecture, 1985, in 
Joyce Youings (ed.), Raleigh in Exeter 1985: Privateering and Colonisation in the Reign of Elizabeth 
I (Exeter: 1986), 1-20, esp. 12-20. 

5 For the full story of the Roanoke colony, see David Beers Quinn, Set Fair for Roanoke: Voyages 
and Colonies, 1584-1606 (Chapel Hill: 1985), and Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Roanoke: The 
Abandoned Colony (Totowa, N.J.: 1984). 

6 See the note by Richard Hakluyt, 1609, in Quinn (ed.), Roanoke Voyages, I, 388. 

7 Smith, The Proceedings of the English Colony in Virginia, 1612, known as The Map of Virginia, 
Part II, in Philip L. Barbour (ed.), The Complete Works of Captain John Smith (Chapel Hill: 
3 vols. 1986), I, 218-219. 

8 John Smith reported hints of the Roanoke colonists and expeditions to seek them in his 
True Relation of Such Occurrences and Accidents of Noate as Hath Hapned in Virginia (1608), in 
Barbour (ed.), Complete Works of Captain John Smith, I, 49, 55, 63; in his Map of Virginia, 
Parts I and II, ibid., 150, 265-266; and in his Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the 
Summer Isles (1624), ibid., II, 226, 291. William Strachey reported evidence that the Roanoke 
colonists had lived with the Chesapeake Indians and that all had been exterminated by Powhatan's 
forces; The Historie ofTravell into Virginia Britania, Louis B. Wright and Virginia Freund (eds.), 
(London: 1953), 15, 91, 104-108, 150. Samuel Purchas wrote that Smith had evidence of this 
deed: "Virginia's Verger" in Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas His Pilgrimes (1625; rpt. Glasgow, 
1906), 19, 228; and note, ibid., 18, 527. 

9 On Sagadahoc, see David B. and Alison M. Quinn (eds.), The English New England Voyages, 
1602-1608 (London: 1983), especially 74-90 and 331-468. See also Richard A. Preston, Gorges 
of Plymouth Fort (Toronto: 1953), 141-150, and Douglas R. McManis, European Impressions of 
the New England Coast, 1491-1620, University of Chicago Department of Geography Research 
Paper no. 139 (Chicago: 1972), 106-108, 137. 

138 Raleigh and Quinn 

10 Smith, Generall Historie, in Barbour (ed.), Complete Works of John Smith, II, 263-264; and 
A Description of New England, 1616, ibid., I, 343-345. 

"Smith, New Englands Trials, 1622, ibid., I, 434. 

12 On English domestic and foreign policy in this period, see Derek Hirst, Authority and Con- 
flict: England, 1603-1658 (Cambridge, Mass.: 1986), chapter 5. 

"Historical Manuscripts Commission, Appendix to Tenth Report (1887), Part VI, 85; 
Christopher Hill, Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution (Oxford: 1965), 208-211. 

14 The basic sources for the history of the Providence Island Company and colony are the 
company's records in the Public Record Office at Kew (CO 1/124, 1 and 2). These are two 
large folio volumes, one of which contains records of company meetings, and the other copies 
of letters and instructions sent to the colony. These and related primary documents are available 
in the Microform Academic Publishers series British Records Relating to America in Microform, 
ed. W.E. Minchinton, The Providence Island Venture, 1630-1641, ed. Karen Ordahl Kupperman. 
The Providence Island Company is the subject of A. P. Newton's The Colonising Activities of 
the English Puritans (New Haven: 1914). For a brief modern treatment, see Karen Ordahl 
Kupperman, "A Puritan Colony in the Tropics: Providence Island, 1630-1641," in Ralph Bennett 
(ed.), Settlements in the Americas (University of Delaware Press, forthcoming). 

"This point is developed at length in Karen Ordahl Kupperman, "Errand to the Indies: Puritan 
Colonization from Providence Island to the Western Design," William and Mary Quarterly 
(forthcoming). See also Roger Crabtree, "The Idea of a Protestant Foreign Policy," in Ivan 
Roots (ed.), Cromwell: A Profile (London: 1973), 160-189, and John F. Battick, "A New 
Interpretation of Cromwell's Western Design," Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical 
Society, 34 (1972): 76-84. 

"Blair Worden, "Oliver Cromwell and the Sin of Achan," in Derek Beales and Geoffrey 
Best (eds.), History, Society and the Churches: Essays in Honour of Owen Chadwick (Cambridge: 
1985), 127, 135-141. 

"Smith, Generall Historie, in Barbour (ed.), Complete Works of Captain John Smith, II, 399. 

ia Ibid., 285. See also The True Travels, Adventures, and Observations of Captaine John Smith, 
1630, ibid, III, 237. 

"Smith, Description of New England, ibid., I, 327, 350; and Advertisements for the Unexperienced 
Planters of New England, or Any Where, 1631, ibid., Ill, 277, 299. 

20 Smith, Description of New England, ibid., I, 312, 330-332, 360; New England's Trials, ibid., 
424-425, 437-438, 441; and Generall Historie, ibid., 43, 462, 474. 

21 Smith, Description of New England, ibid., I, 330, 350. See also his True Travels, ibid., 223, 

22 Smith, Advertisements, ibid., Ill, 284-286. 

"Advertisements, ibid., Ill, 269-270. 

"Fortune's Tennis Ball," or Bouncing About with 
the Bibliography of Sir Walter 

Christopher M. Armitage* 

While enjoying this luncheon, we acknowledge the fine way that H. G. Jones 
has organized the whole conference. But I am going to make a startling revelation 
about him: I recently discovered that he is a closet alchemist. By "closet" I do 
not refer to the fact that in order to find him in his office one must thread 
a labyrinth of tables and bookstacks until in the furthest, darkest recess one 
beards him in his cell, where, like Prospero, he sits amid his books, "all dedicated 
to the bettering of his mind." No: by "closet alchemist" I mean that he had 
hidden, at least from me, his belief that dull lead can be transmuted into bright 
gold. This belief came out when he told me that I was to be the speaker at 
this luncheon and that I was to make the subject of bibliography "entertaining 
and amusing." This command is akin to ordering a miner at the coalface not 
to get dirty, or a swimmer to stay dry. 

My conclusion, after toiling at the Sisyphean task of compiling a bibliography 
of so Protean a character as Sir Walter Ralegh, is that a bibliographer is also 
described by Dr. Johnson's definition of a lexicographer as "a harmless drudge." 
Moreover, since Ralegh was involved in such diverse matters as navigation, politics, 
poetry, colonization, writing a History of the World, concocting medicines, attacking 
Spaniards, attending law school, intriguing at court (the list could continue), 
any attempt to account for all that has been written about him is bound to 
contain omissions and errors. Here his bibliographer may again have recourse 
to Dr. Johnson, who, when asked by a lady why he had incorrectly defined 
"pastern" as the knee of a horse, replied "Ignorance, madam, pure ignorance." 

The phrase "Fortune's Tennis Ball" in my title has nothing to do with the 
meteoric rises and falls of Bjorn Borg or John McEnroe. "Fortune's tennis ball" 
was a verdict on Ralegh rendered by Sir Robert Naunton in the seventeenth 
century, when tennis meant real or royal tennis played on an indoor court with 
terms and rules very different from those of tennis today. 1 But on numerous 
occasions this bibliographer has felt slammed around the chases and hazards of 
the royal tennis court. Let me identify two instances. 

For many years I sauntered carefree into — or past — the North Carolina 
Collection, never dreaming that I would have greatness thrust upon me in the 
form of a project which required constant use of its splendid resources. But 
when that moment came, alas, the Wilson Library was closed for refurbishing 
and the Ralegh material locked away in a massive steel cage. Dr. Jones permitted 
me access to the material, provided that I was locked in with it. His staff were 

Raleigh and Quinn 

Christopher M. Armitage, associate professor at UNC-CH, discussed his forthcoming 
bibliography of Raleigh in a paper titled "Fortune's Tennis Ball." 

most helpful in letting me in and out: on those rare occasions when they forgot 
to release me for lunch, they did rescue me at 5:00 p.m.! 

The second instance arose last summer. I knew that some of the gaps could 
be filled in through the Bodleian Library at Oxford. I did not anticipate that 
last summer would be the very period chosen for the most unEnglish activity 
of installing air-conditioning in the Bodleian. As a result, most of the items 
I needed to see were inaccessible. 

Though not particularly paranoiac, after these two frustrating blocks I began 
to murmur "The time is out of joint, o cursed spite, / That ever I was born 
to set it right." But then my Prufrockian alter ego reminded me that "I am 
not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; / Am an attendant lord, one that 
will do / To swell a" conference. 

Ralegh, however, has been compared to Prince Hamlet — and Bottom, and 
Othello, and Iago, and Prospero, and to Shakespeare himself. As a prominent 
Elizabethan and acknowledged writer Ralegh was bound to attract the attention 
of the anti-Stratfordian zealots, particularly since he had a dozen years of enforced 
leisure in the Tower of London, during which he wrote Shakespeare's plays while 
pretending to be occupied with The History of the World. Such stuff the exasperated 

"Fortune's Tennis Ball" 141 

bibliographer must wade through. In quest of Raleghana he also learns more 
than he may have wished to know about potatoes, the crompster or hog (a 
coastal ship), obsolete medicinal formulae, customs and excise practices on the 
isle of Jersey, whether or not the Lost Colonists were absorbed into the Lumbee 
Indians of Robeson County in North Carolina, and so on. He also grapples 
with such problems as whether to spell Hariot and Harington with one "r" 
or two; whether the captured treasure-ship was the "Madre de Dios" (Spanish) 
or "Deus" (Portuguese); which spelling of Sir Walter's patronymic to adopt 
(as late as the mid-nineteenth century Isaac D'Israeli, father of Britain's future 
Prime Minister, used Rawleigh); under which letter of the alphabet to place 
William Least Heat Moon, the American Indian author of Blue Highways; and 
many other knotty issues. 

On rare occasions the bibliographer may have some fun. I found, for instance, 
that what went to the word-processor as "he espoused a maid of honor" came 
out as "he exposed a maid of honor." Had the machine automatically recalled 
John Aubrey's scandalous anecdote about Ralegh's compelling seduction of the 
lady who as a result bore them a son? This is the son whose portrait, standing 
in front of his father, was shown yesterday on one of Helen Wallis's slides. 
Apparently he was a chip off the old block, to judge from another of Aubrey's 

Sir Walter Raleigh, being invited to dinner with some great person, where 
his son was to go with him, said to his son, Thou art such a quarrelsome, 
affronting creature that I am ashamed to have such a bear in my company. 
Mr Walt humbled himself to his father, and promised he would behave 
himself mightily mannerly. So away they went. He sat next to his father 
and was very demure at least half dinner time. Then said he, I this 
morning, not having the fear of God before my eyes, but by the instigation 
of the devil, went to a whore. I was very eager of her, kissed and embraced 
her and went to enjoy her, but she thrust me from her and vowed I 
should not, For your Father lay with me but an hour ago. Sir Walt, 
being so strangely surprized and put out of his countenance at so great 
a table, gives his son a damned blow over the face; his son, as rude as 
he was, would not strike his father, but strikes over the face of the 
gentleman that sat next to him, and said, Box about, 'twill come to 
my Father anon. 'Tis now a common used proverb. 2 

Young Walt was sent to France in 1613 under the governorship of Ben Jonson, 
whom he got dead drunk and caused to be carried around Paris in a cart, Walt 
telling the spectators that Jonson was a more lively image of the Crucifix than 
any they had. Unabashedly telling this story to William Drummond of 
Hawthornden, Jonson added that Walt's mother was delighted about the escapade, 
saying "that his father, young, was so inclined, though the father abhorred it." 
Four years later, however, escapades turned deadly: Walt was killed during Keymis's 
ill-judged attack on San Tome, as recounted in Professor Shirley's paper. This 

142 Raleigh and Quinn 

tragedy was a further disaster in the debacle of Ralegh's last voyage to Guiana. 
Ralegh's courage and grace at his execution, which was vindictively demanded 
by King James I soon after Ralegh's return from that voyage, made a deep 
impression. One source of information about his behavior at his beheading is 
a letter written by Robert Tounson. The letter is reproduced in a book entitled 
Walteri Hetningford, Historia de Rebus Gestis Edvardi I, II, et III. In this case, 
knowledge of English history could be downright disadvantageous, because a 
seventeenth-century letter is hardly to be expected amid a history about monarchs 
of several centuries earlier. The compiler of the volume was Thomas Hearne 
of St. Edmund Hall in Oxford University, another harmless drudge, who gave 
rise to the couplet: 

"Pox on't!" said Time to Thomas Hearne, 
"Whatever I forget, you learn." 

When his Stuart sympathies led to his being locked out of his job in the Bodleian 
Library after he refused to swear allegiance to the Hanoverian regime, he retired 
to St. Edmund Hall and filled many volumes with comments on his contem- 
poraries, such as calling George Frederick Handel and his musicians "a lousy 
crew of foreign fiddlers." 

In conclusion, I would like to share with you two pieces about Ralegh that 
may be unfamiliar. (When a speaker announces a wish to share something, the 
announcement often is a prologue to bad news. Such is not, I hope, the case 
here.) The pieces are by two poets, one Anglo-Irish and one American, who 
both died in 1963. They touch, in a complementary way, on many of the diverse 
aspects of Ralegh. The first is by Louis MacNeice, classical scholar and writer 
for the British Broadcasting Corporation, whose "Suite for Recorders" treats 
Elizabethan poets as recorders living in a dangerous era of political intrigue and 
treachery. The poem begins with an epigraph from Shakespeare which is thought 
to allude to Christopher Marlowe's death in a brawl over a tavern bill, and the 
first quatrains introduce a series of allusions to the pastoral conventions in "The 
Passionate Shepherd to his Love" by Marlowe and "The Nymph's Reply" by 


... it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room. 

As You Like It 


If shepherd to nymph were the whole story 
Dying in holocausts of blossom, 
No midwife and no middleman 
Would contravene the upright sun. 

"Fortune's Tennis Ball" 143 

If Raleigh to Marlowe on the other 
Hand were an uncontested audit, 
Then Thames need only flow to mock 
A death in tavern or on block; 

Nor swimming Hellespont nor climbing 
Starwards could answer the inquiring 
Blade that would spill each threaded bead, 
Each grace-note of a broken reed; 

While far sou'wested Eldorado, 
Old pipe-dream in the Tower of London, 
Would be no more than history claims — 
A long axe handle spliced for James. 


In a little room, a little plot, a little lifetime 

Hark, the shrill recorders after meat, the Elizabethan 

Mayflies in a silver web which dangled over chaos, 

Twirling round and round, 
Waited for the silent headsman, countering his silence 

With arabesques of sound. 

Courtier with the knife behind the smile, ecclesiastic 
With faggots in his eyes, tight-lipped scholar with 

Fruit in his back garden, all were conscious in their bowels 

Of the web and whose it was 
And beneath it of the void where not old faith nor yet new 

Dare breathe the word Because. 

Golden age? Age of discovery? Age of madrigals and bars, 
Age when men died young. We envy what we think an 

innocent ardour, 
What in fact was staged revolt upon a tightrope, a creative 

Despair, a blithe despair of youth, 
Which in that swivelling dubious web essayed its white lies 

in defiance 
Of the black void of truth. 

Violent men with salt in their nostrils, blood on their 
hands, whose gentler moments 

144 Raleigh and Quinn 

Conjured up, for lack of sleep, a land which ancient 

Careless of the starved and sweaty facts, had filled with 

Shepherds fluting to their sheep 
For Spenser, Sidney, Kit and Will to loll and count and then 

Their antics fall asleep. 

Life as a game? An art? An orgy? Something of each; a 

Also. Prematurely dead — or dumb — they left behind them 
What for us? A bed of flowers? A second best? A starting 

point? Or 
Blind end, blind spring, spring of a trap? 
Yet still they pipe and still from No Man's Pastures trip 

their white, their ringstraked, 
Their black sheep through the gap. 


The windblown web in which we live 
Presumes a yawning negative, 
A nothing which cries out to see 
A something flout its vacancy. 

To singe the beard of the King of Spain 
Was but a token; Tamburlaine 
Found no more in his earthly crown 
Than was allowed to Corydon; 

And both demanded something more 
Than their set piece of love or war, 
Than what faint echoes drift to us 
Of muffled drums or calamus. 

Yet read between those lines and peer 
Down through the mesh of gossamer 
And you will sense the darkness which 
Made either guttering candle rich; 

And you, a would-be player too, 
Will give those angry ghosts their due 
Who threw their voices far as doom 
Greatly in a little room. 3 

"Fortune's Tennis Ball" 145 

The second piece is by William Carlos Williams, the New Jersey 
pediatrician. His essay "Sir Walter Raleigh" includes a rhapsodic 
account of the Virginia which Ralegh sought to colonize. The last 
of these paragraphs could serve as a comment upon the impulse 
behind this conference and the studies which Sir Walter continues 
to inspire. 

O Muse, in that still pasture where you dwell amid the hardly noticed 
sounds of water falling and the little cries of crickets and small birds, 
sing of Virginia floating off: the broken chips of Raleigh: the Queen 
is dead. 

O Virginia! who will gather you again as Raleigh had you gathered? 
science, wisdom, love, despair. O America, the deathplace of his son! 
It is Raleigh, anti-tropical. It is the cold north, flaring up in ice again. 

What might he have known, what seen, O Muse? — Shoal water where 
we smelt so sweet and so strong a smell, as if we had been in the midst 
of some delicate garden; and keeping good watch and keeping but slack 
sail— we arrived upon the coast; a land so full of grapes as the very beating 
and surge of the sea overflow them, such plenty, as well there as in all 
places else, on the sand and on the green soil on the hills, as well as 
every little shrub, as also climbing towards the tops of high cedars, that 
in all the world I think a like abundance is not to be found. And from 
below the hill such a flock of cranes, mostly white, arose with such a 
cry as if an army of men had shouted all together. — He might have seen 
the brother of the king, Granganimo, with copper cap, whose wife, comely 
and bashful, might have come aboard the ship, her brows bound with 
white coral; or running out to meet them very cheerfully, at Roanoak, 
plucked off his socks and washed his feet in warm water. A people gentle, 
loving, faithful, void of all guile and treason. Earthen pots, large, white 
and sweet and wooden platters of sweet timber. 

Sing, O Muse and say, there is a spirit that is seeking through America 
for Raleigh: in the earth, the air, the waters, up and down, for Raleigh, 
that lost man: seer who failed, planter who never planted, poet whose 
works are questioned, leader without command, favorite deposed— but 
one who yet gave title for his Queen, his England, to a coast he never 
saw but grazed alone with genius. 4 


*H.G. Jones presented the speaker as follows: "Christopher M. Armitage, holder of a Bowman 
and Gordon Gray chair of undergraduate teaching in English at the University of North Carolina 
at Chapel Hill, earned his master's degrees from both Oxford University and the University 
of Western Ontario and a doctorate from Duke University. He has taught at Huron College, 
Universite Laval, University of Guelph, and currently he is also a visiting associate professor 
of Canadian literature at Duke. His books include Manual of Service Writing for the Royal Canadian 

146 Raleigh and Quinn 

Air Force (1958) and A Bibliography of the Works of Louis MacNeice (1973). Professor Armitage's 
teaching effectiveness has been recognized by the Standard Oil Foundation Award and the Nicholas 
Salgo Distinguished Teacher Award. In addition to his classroom duties, he serves as acting 
director of the Office of International Programs and director of the UNC Study-Travel Program 
in Oxford. 

"At the request of America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee, Chris Armitage took 
on the formidable task of completing a comprehensive annotated bibliography of Sir Walter 
Raleigh. His courage flagged only momentarily when he was told that all previously commis- 
sioned compilers had died on the job; and, judging from his robust health, An Annotated 
Bibliography of Sir Walter Raleigh will be published in the fall by the University of North Carolina 
Press. Today he proves to us that bibliographical work is not always deadly to either the mind 
or the body." 

! Sir Robert Naunton, "Rawleigh," Fragmenta Regalia, or Observations on the late Queen Elizabeth, 
Her Times and Favorits [sic] (London: 1641), p. 30. 

2 Aubrey's Brief Lives, edited by Oliver Lawson Dick (London: Seeker and Warburg, 1949; 
Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1957), p. 256. 

3 Louis MacNeice, "Suite for Recorders," Ten Burnt Offerings (London: Faber, 1952), pp. 13-18. 
Reprinted in The Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice, edited by E.R. Dodds (London: Faber, 
1966; New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), pp. 283-87. 

4 William Carlos Williams, "Sir Walter Raleigh," In the American Grain (Norfolk, Conn.: 
New Directions, 1925), pp. 59-62. Reprinted in The William Carlos Williams Reader, edited 
by M.L. Rosenthal (Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions; London: MacGibbon & Kee, 1966), 
pp. 336-39. 

Ralegh and Drake 

Norman J. IV. Thrower* 

The roster of Elizabethan overseas adventures includes a number of well-known 
names such as Cavendish, Chancellor, Davis, Drake, Frobisher, Gilbert, Grenville, 
Hawkins, Ralegh, and Willoughby. 1 Among these it could be demonstrated, 
statistically if need be, that none have such enduring reputations as Ralegh and 
Drake. There are many similarities in the lives and work of these two men — 
both were born in the West Country of England, both were soldiers in Ireland, 
both received favors from the Queen, both were members of Parliament, both 
promoted and engaged in voyages of discovery, both died under tragic circum- 
stances, and memories of both live on through popular stories as folk heroes. 
However, there are important differences between these men, and it might be 
illuminating to compare the careers of two of the greatest of the Elizabethans. 

Although we properly honor Ralegh as the founder of England's first settle- 
ment on the Atlantic coast of what is now the United States, he was never 
able to visit the colony he promoted in North America, but, surprisingly, Drake 
did. I don't intend to focus on the Roanoke Colony, of which much has been 
said in this conference. 2 Rather, as well as comparing Ralegh and Drake, I will 
attempt to put their lives in the context of the signal events that were taking 
place when England was still in the process of breaking away from the Church 
of Rome and, for most of the period, saw Spain as the implacable enemy. 

Before the discovery of America in 1492, England and Spain had been polit- 
ical and commercial allies. This changed dramatically after Pope Alexander VI 
issued a bull dividing the unknown world between Spain and Portugal in 1493. 
The next year the bull was ratified by the Treaty of Tordesillas. Only three years 
after this, in 1497, King Henry VII of England sponsored a voyage out of Bristol 
commanded by the Venetian, John Cabot, during which Newfoundland was 
discovered. This was quickly followed by other English and French voyages to 
North America, which was claimed but not occupied by Spain and Portugal. 
By the 1540s, Plymouth, the English port with which Drake and Ralegh are 
both associated, came to rival Bristol as a point of departure for Atlantic voyages. 
The English Navy was built up at this time by Henry VIII, who had succeeded 
his father Henry VII in 1509, but the King's ships were heavily involved in 
wars with France, and English overseas voyages in the sixteenth century were 
largely private affairs. 3 

Within this setting, the county of Devon, two boys were born who were 
to greatly affect their age; much that has been written about the early years 
of Drake and Ralegh is probably apocryphal. Francis Drake was born on a farm 
at Crowndale near Tavistock, about ten miles north of Plymouth, the family 


Raleigh and Quinn 

Court artist Nicholas Hillliard in the 1580s painted miniatures of Sir Walter Raleigh 
(left) and Sir Francis Drake (right). By permission of the National Portrait Gallery, London 
(Raleigh) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (Drake). 

believes in 1543. 4 This was during the last years of the reign of Henry VIII, 
and some fifty years after the New World had been discovered by Columbus. 
Drake's father, Edmund Drake, had most probably been a seaman before marry- 
ing and settling down. Though not well off, the Drake family had excellent 
connections. Francis, later Earl of Bedford, is said to have been godfather to 
Francis Drake and that the baby was his namesake. Edmund Drake's mother, 
and therefore Francis Drake's grandmother, was a Hawkins — a prominent family 
in Plymouth. In the 1530s and 40s the Hawkins family made profitable trading 
voyages to Guinea and Brazil. This family relationship was later to be of great 
significance in the career of Francis Drake. 

As the result of a Catholic uprising in the West Country in 1549 the Drake 
family, which was fiercely Protestant, was forced to leave Devon. Francis Drake, 
now six years of age, was taken by his parents to the London area where they 
lived on a hulk at the mouth of the Medway, a small river on the coast of 
Kent. Edmund Drake was employed as a Bible reader in the Navy, and the 
young Francis grew up knowing about ships and seamen. He was the oldest 

Ralegh and Drake 149 

of twelve brothers, at least three others of whom (John, Joseph, and Thomas) 
went to sea. During his childhood, religious troubles continued in England as 
Henry VIII was succeeded by his son Edward VI (the boy king) in 1547 who, 
in turn, was succeeded by Queen Mary I (Bloody Mary) in 1553. In this year 
matters were further complicated when Mary married Philip, son of King Charles 
V of Spain. Wars continued on the Continent in the course of which England 
lost Calais, its last possession on mainland France, in 1557. During this period 
Francis Drake, now in his teens, was apprenticed to a merchant captain engaged 
in coastal trade. It was in the difficult waters of the Thames estuary that young 
Drake developed his navigational skills. When the master died, he bequeathed 
his ship to Drake, who soon sold it and left the London area to seek his fortune 
with his relatives in Devon. 

In 1548 Sebastian Cabot, the son of John, had accepted an invitation to come 
to England from Spain, where he held the position of pilot major. This proved 
to be a turning point in the training of English navigators who, in the next 
half century, became "great sea dogs." 5 In 1553 Richard Chancellor was appointed 
pilot of an expedition to discover the northeast passage to the Far East under 
the command of Sir Hugh Willoughby. Willoughby was lost, but Chancellor 
eventually made his way overland to Moscow to the court of Ivan IV (the Terrible) 
as a result of which the Muscovy Company was founded. In 1558 Elizabeth 
I became Queen of England; Edmund Drake was made Vicar of Upchurch, 
Kent as a reward for his fidelity to the Protestant cause. 

Prior to this, in the early 1550s, at Hayes Barton near East Budleigh, some 
ten miles from Exeter in South Devon, a son, Walter, was born to Walter Ralegh 
of Fardell and his third wife, Katherine. 6 Thus Francis Drake was about nine 
years of age when Walter Ralegh was born. The birthplaces of Drake and Ralegh 
are about forty miles apart as the crow flies. There is a family connection be- 
tween Drake and Ralegh, for the senior Walter Ralegh's first wife was Joan 
Drake, daughter of John Drake of Exmouth, cousin of Francis's family. There 
was a second wife, but it was by his third wife that the senior Walter Ralegh 
had two sons, first Carew and then Waiter junior. Walter's mother was the 
widow of Otho Gilbert, by whom she had three sons— John, Humphrey, and 
Adrian Gilbert. Like the Drakes, the Raleghs and Gilberts were Protestants and 
were affected adversely by the troubles associated with the Catholic uprisings 
in the West Country, but it was not necessary for them to leave Devon invol- 
untarily. However, when he was in his teens, in 1568, young Walter Ralegh 
joined a group of West Countrymen who went to France to support the Hugue- 
not cause. He spent four years campaigning in religious wars on the Continent 
which culminated, much later, in the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1598) 
through which Huguenots were dispersed throughout northern Europe. 

By the time Ralegh returned to England in 1572 a number of events had 
taken place which were to affect the course of history and, with this, the lives 

150 Raleigh and Quinn 

of Ralegh and Drake. In 1568, Mary, Queen of Scots, took refuge in England, 
and in the same year the Netherlands rebelled against Spain. Meanwhile, Drake 
had made three voyages to Middle America, and was embarked on a fourth. 7 
Drake's first transoceanic voyage was in a ship owned by his relatives, William 
and John Hawkins, and commanded by Captain John Lovell, in 1566-67. This 
was followed by an expedition by John Hawkins in 1567-8 in which Drake 
was given command of the Judith, one of six ships in the flotilla. This venture 
proved to be a disaster since the English were caught and attacked by a superior 
Spanish fleet at San Juan de Ulua (Vera Cruz) off the coast of Mexico. Only 
the flagship with Hawkins aboard and the Judith, under Drake, escaped. Drake 
thought they had been deceived by a promise of protection and felt that, because 
of this, all his subsequent depredations against the Spanish were justified. On 
the return to England Drake was sent to deliver a letter from William Hawkins 
to Queen Elizabeth's Principal Secretary of State Sir William Cecil (later Lord 
Burghley) reporting the disaster. This was probably Drake's first contact with 
the Court. 

Hawkins was not happy with Drake's conduct at the Battle of San Juan and 
wrote, "The Judith . . . forsook us in our great misery." 8 Soon after his return 
to England Drake, now thoroughly experienced in piratical seamanship, married 
Mary Newman, the daughter of a West Country seaman, in 1569. Two years 
later he was again in the Caribbean — this time on his own account. The next 
year, 1572, he embarked on his daring raid on Panama. As Balboa had done 
nearly sixty years earlier, Drake crossed the Isthmus; he vowed he would be 
the first Englishman to sail on the Pacific. It was on his return to the Caribbean 
coast that Drake captured a mule train carrying Spanish treasure and returned 
to Plymouth a rich man in 1573. He now joined the expedition of the Earl 
of Essex in Ireland to attempt to colonize Antrim. This failed, but it was in 
Ireland that Drake met Thomas Doughty, a young aristocrat with close connec- 
tions at Court who, in 1577, was to embark with Drake with fatal consequences 
for Doughty. 

Five years earlier in 1572, the young Walter Ralegh had enrolled in Oriel 
College Oxford but, like many undergraduates of that time, he seems not to 
have taken a degree although possessed of considerable book learning. He was 
registered in the Middle Temple (one of the Inns of Court) in 1575 and was 
well enough off to have servants, for two of whom he had to post bail for 
rowdiness. Ralegh was himself imprisoned for dueling but, in retrospect, 
everything he did seemed to lead to the Court of Queen Elizabeth, where his 
half brother Humphrey Gilbert had preceded him. It was Gilbert who introduced 
Ralegh to George Gascoigne, a poet, publisher, and soldier. Gascoigne had pub- 
lished Gilbert's Discourse to Prove a Passage by the North West to Cathay and now 
published one of Ralegh's early poems. 

Gilbert had been planning an expedition to the Orient by way of the north 

Ralegh and Drake 151 

of North America for a decade and received letters patent from the Queen for 
this purpose in 1578. The northwest passage seemed a more promising way 
to reach the Far East than the northeast passage. Although Chancellor's ven- 
ture in the latter direction and the subsequent establishment of the Muscovy 
Company had led to the remarkable overland journey from Russia to Persia by 
the Englishman Anthony Jenkinson in 1561-64, this had not initiated direct 
trade with eastern Asia, the ultimate objective of Gilbert's voyages. Ralegh now 
associated himself with Gilbert's plan for overseas exploration, and a squadron 
of ten ships left Dartmouth harbor in September 1578 with Ralegh in command 
of the Falcon. A storm dispersed the fleet which put but back into Dartmouth. 
Through this unsuccessful action Ralegh seems to have become known at the 
Court of Elizabeth which included, in addition to Lord Burghley, the Earl of 
Oxford, the Earl of Leicester, Sir Christopher Hatton, and Sir Francis Walsingham. 

Just prior to Ralegh's return to England in the Falcon, Walsingham, Leicester, 
Hatton, and John Hawkins, now treasurer of the Queen's shipyards, were pro- 
moters of what was to become Drake's most ambitious project. Queen Elizabeth 
was probably a supporter of this venture of 1577, which was not approved by 
Burghley. The same promoters of Drake's venture had also been supporters of 
the attempt of Martin Frobisher to find the northwest passage in the previous 
year, and now they were backers of his second attempt. We are not certain of 
the motives behind Drake's voyage— whether to look for possible English settle- 
ments in South America south of the sphere of Spanish influence, whether to 
explore the approaches to the northwest passage from the Pacific, or others. 
In any case, Drake left Plymouth on 13 December 1577 and sailed south with 
a squadron of five vessels including his flagship, the Pelican. On the way Doughty 
challenged Drake's authority and at St. Julian, in Patagonia, Drake had Doughty 
executed. Drake now navigated the strait (found by Magellan sixty years earlier) 
in sixteen days, a record for the century. Once in the Pacific a great storm drove 
him southward into what is known today as Drake Passage, between Tierra 
del Fuego and Antarctica. When the storm abated Drake found he had only 
one ship left, the Pelican, which he renamed Golden Hind after a device on the 
crest of his patron, Hatton. 

The Golden Hind now sailed northward along the Pacific coast of South 
America, attacking towns and shipping along the way. From one Spanish ship, 
called by the English "Cacafuego," Drake took a vast treasure, which he loaded 
on the Golden Hind. Drake dared not now return the way he had come, so 
he sailed north beyond any Spanish settlements to what is now the latitude 
of Washington state. He may have been looking for the Pacific entrance to the 
northwest passage, but the weather deteriorated, and he turned southward to 
California where the Golden Hind was careened and replenished for the projected 
voyage across the Pacific. Drake's six-week stay in California, 16 June-23 July 
1579, on what the Tudors called the back side of America, was the earliest English 

152 Raleigh and Quinn 

presence in any part of what was to become the United States. He took possession 
of the land from the Mi wok Indians as Nova Albion — the first New England— for 
Queen Elizabeth before leaving the coast of California. 9 

Drake now sailed across the Pacific to Mindanao and on to the Moluccas, 
where the Golden Hind anchored at the Island of Ternate. Here Drake made 
a treaty with the local Sultan that some have seen as the beginning of the British 
Empire in Asia, formalized later, in the establishment of the East India Com- 
pany. Drake sailed on to a remote island to careen his ship. Shortly after this, 
the Golden Hind struck a rock in the Celebes and Drake had to jettison part 
of his cargo of spices. The ship was extricated from this danger and continued 
to thread its way through the islands of southeast Asia to Java. Following a 
well-travelled course via the Indian Ocean, the Cape of Good Hope and the 
Atlantic, Drake and his crew arrived in Plymouth on 26 September 1580, nearly 
three years after the voyage had begun. They had made the second global cir- 
cumnavigation, after Magellan's, and the first from which the commander returned 
home. It was properly called the "Famous Voyage." 10 

When Queen Elizabeth heard of his return, after some hesitation, she sum- 
moned Drake to London and, in a long private audience, learned the details 
of the voyage. The treasure was stored in the Tower of London except for the 
generous prize given to Drake and the crew. Drake was knighted aboard the 
Golden Hind, and he returned to Plymouth, where he became Mayor in 1581. 
He bought a great country house, Buckland Abbey, from Sir Richard Gren- 
ville. Drake's first wife died about this time, and in February 1585, he married 
Elizabeth Sydenham, daughter of a Somerset knight, a friend of the Drake family. 
In the previous year he had become a member of Parliament for Bossiney, North 
Cornwall, and, through this, was able to benefit Plymouth and the West Country 

During the period of Drake's circumnavigation and its immediate aftermath 
Ralegh had not been idle. In 1580 he followed his half brother Sir Humphrey 
Gilbert as a soldier in southwestern Ireland, a very different area from the north- 
east where Drake had served. There is no special value in detailing both the 
grisly and the romantic episodes of Ralegh's service in Ireland, which has been 
sufficiently covered in this conference, except to say that he eventually obtained 
large grants of land there and advanced his position at the Court of Elizabeth 
by his exploits. Within a few months of his return from Ireland in 1582 he 
became a favorite of the Queen, to whom he would send his poems during 
his rare absences. The absence of the Earl of Leicester and the Earl of Essex, 
who were fighting for the Protestant cause in the Netherlands, 1585-87, left 
the field at home freer for Ralegh. Naturally his advance at the Court did not 
please those being reduced or displaced in the favor of the Queen. She rewarded 
Ralegh with appointments and monopolies, which were the basis of his power. 
In 1584 Ralegh became member of Parliament for Devon and was knighted 
by the Queen. 

Ralegh and Drake 153 

Such was the background for Ralegh's enterprises in the New World, the 
sketchiest account of which only need be passed in review in this essay. Ralegh 
had helped finance Humphrey Gilbert in another ill-starred overseas venture in 
1583 during which his half brother was lost at sea. Ralegh now became the 
major protagonist for transatlantic English settlements in support of which he 
employed the propagandist, Richard Hakluyt, and the navigator-scholar, Thomas 
Harriot. Backed by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth, Ralegh sent out a recon- 
naissance expedition to the New World in 1584. This was followed by the 
colonization of 1585 led by Sir Richard Grenville, since the Queen would not 
let Ralegh go overseas. The party that reached what is now North Carolina 
included, besides Grenville, Harriot and the future (third) circumnavigator, 
Thomas Cavendish. After the Roanoke colonists were landed, Grenville, Caven- 
dish, and others left for England with the understanding that the over one hundred 
settlers remaining under Governor Ralph Lane and Harriot would be visited 
and replenished the next year. Meanwhile Ralegh had been increasing his power 
at home with more monopolies and further appointments, including Lord Lieu- 
tenant of Cornwall. At one time he had as many as five hundred servants. 

In the meantime Francis Drake had organized a large expedition (in which 
the Queen and Ralegh, among others, had an investment) to attack Spanish 
possessions in the Caribbean. Meanwhile, through many vicissitudes Governor 
Lane, Harriot, and most of the colonists had survived a winter in Roanoke, 
and now it was summer again and no ship had arrived from England. Imagine 
their surprise when, on 11 June 1586, instead of a relief squadron, the colonists 
saw Drake's large fleet off the coast, as it transpired, returning from the Carib- 
bean. Although not his original intention, Drake heeded the pleas of the colon- 
ists and took them back to England. 11 Grenville, who had been dispatched by 
Ralegh to provide succour to the colony, arrived a short time after Drake's depar- 
ture to find Roanoke deserted. Grenville left a small holding party on the island 
and returned to England, where Lane's hasty departure was being explained to 
the unhappy Ralegh. In late 1586 Ralegh was disillusioned about his overseas 
venture in North America and offered to sell out to any bidders; it was Gren- 
ville who wished to carry on with the idea of forming a military base against 
Spain in America. Ralegh now further consolidated his position in England 
by the acquisition of large estates which were formerly the property of Anthony 
Babington, who had plotted the assassination of Queen Elizabeth and the release 
of Mary, Queen of Scots. The plot was discovered, and Mary was executed by 
order of Queen Elizabeth in 1587. In the same year, on Hatton's promotion 
to Lord Chancellor, Ralegh became Captain of the Queen's Guard and reached 
the peak of his influence. This was also the year when Ralegh approved another 
expedition to "plant" a colony in North America in which he had a modest 
investment. Upon their arrival the colonists found that none of the small party 
left earlier by Grenville had survived. The same fate later awaited them except 

154 Raleigh and Quinn 

for the few, including the governor, John White, who returned home in August 

In Europe events were now leading inexorably toward the climactic event 
of Elizabeth's reign — the defeat of the Spanish Armada. In April 1587 Drake 
with a large force had attacked shipping in Cadiz and "singed the King of Spain's 
beard." 12 This action had the effect of delaying the sailing of the Armada for 
a year, which gave Hawkins (building ships for the Queen), Ralegh, and others 
time to supervise preparations against a possible invasion on land, and Drake 
to muster the fleet. The commander of the English Navy was Charles, Lord 
Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral, with Drake being appointed Vice 
Admiral. When the Armada came in the summer of 1588, Drake was in Ply- 
mouth; he waited until the Spanish had sailed beyond the town and attacked 
them from the rear. The Armada was driven up the English Channel and the 
North Sea, where the winds completed the destruction of the Spanish fleet. 
For his role in the defeat of the Armada John Hawkins was knighted, thus, 
in this distinction, joining Drake and Ralegh, who had received the honor earlier. 

However, King Philip tried again to build a fleet to invade England, and Drake, 
with a large force, attacked Lisbon (a port available to the Spanish fleet since 
the forcible union of Spain and Portugal in 1580). This venture proved disastrous 
to the English, and the Queen was greatly displeased. So Drake returned to 
Plymouth and immersed himself in his duties as Mayor and member of Parliament 
for the next five years. One enduring result of this was the building of a leat 
or conduit to bring fresh water from Dartmoor to Plymouth. In the meantime 
Thomas Cavendish had made the second English global circumnavigation, 
1586-88. He attempted another circumnavigation in 1591, in company with 
John Davis, an experienced Arctic explorer and chartmaker, but the voyage was 
unsuccessful and Cavendish died without reaching the Pacific a second time. 13 

In these eventful years Ralegh had been so occupied that the promised relief 
expedition he had induced London merchants to finance to provide succour for 
the Roanoke colonists had been delayed until 1590. When White and his little 
fleet arrived at the site of the settlement in August of that year, they found 
no sign of life in what has come to be known as the Lost Colony. Meanwhile 
the English continued their predations against Spanish shipping and, in 1591, 
Lord Thomas Howard was appointed to lead an expedition to intercept the return- 
ing treasure fleet in the Atlantic. Ralegh was named Vice Admiral but the Queen 
would not let him sail, so Grenville was assigned to the position. The Spanish 
fleet had recovered from the defeat of the Armada and, with the main English 
force immobilized, Grenville in the Revenge fought a losing battle against fifty-three 
enemy ships. This heroic-tragic action, in which Grenville died in late August 
1591, was celebrated by Ralegh in his Report of the Truth of the Fight about the 
Isles of Acores this last Summer. Already an accomplished poet, Ralegh by this 
piece established himself as a writer of prose. Early in 1592 Ralegh was installed 

Ralegh and Drake 155 

in Sherborne Castle in Dorset by the Queen, who was soon to punish him 
for indiscretion at her court. 

Ralegh had met and fallen in love with one of Elizabeth's maids-of-honour, 
Elizabeth (Bess) Throckmorton, daughter of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, the 
Queen's first Ambassador to Paris. The couple married secretly sometime in 
1591 and the affair was kept from the Queen until Bess became obviously preg- 
nant. She gave birth to a boy on 29 March 1592 who was named Damerei, 
and it seemed for a time that life could go on as usual for the new parents. 
However, the jealous Queen imprisoned Bess and Ralegh in the Tower of London 
in August 1592 only to have him released the next month. The reason for the 
premature release was to enable Ralegh to control the looting by English sailors 
of a Spanish treasure ship Madre de Dios which had been taken in a raid, as 
successful as the Revenge affair of the previous year had been unsuccessful. Ralegh 
was one of the principal organizers and investors in this enterprise, but he did 
not receive as large a share as others and claimed to have lost money in the 
venture. When the assignment was completed Ralegh returned to his imprison- 
ment in the Tower, to be released again, with Bess, at the end of the year. Like 
Drake after he had displeased the Queen some three years earlier, Ralegh now 
went back to his home in the West Country. Also, like Drake, he continued 
to represent that part of the country in Parliament and to work on various local 
projects. Ralegh enjoyed the pleasant life of Squire of Sherborne where, in 1593, 
Bess gave birth to a second son, Walter (known as Wat). But both Ralegh and 
Drake wanted nothing more than to be fully restored to the Queen's favor. 

For Drake the opportunity came in 1594 when he and Sir John Hawkins 
were appointed as joint commanders of an expedition to attack Spanish overseas 
settlements. A large fleet sailed from Plymouth in the late summer of 1595. 
Las Palmas in the Canary Islands was unsuccessfully attacked before the now 
depleted force sailed across the Atlantic to the Virgin Islands and on to Puerto 
Rico. Here the Spanish defenders had been warned and the English sustained 
big losses, Hawkins dying on shipboard on 12 November. Drake and the 
remainder of the fleet sailed on to sack Panama, but they were again defeated, 
and Drake contracted fever and dysentery. He died aboard his ship 28 January 
1596 and was buried at sea off Portobelo, a few miles from the eastern end 
of what is now the Panama Canal. 14 This sad ending makes it obviously impos- 
sible to continue a parallel discussion of Drake and Ralegh in relation to contempo- 
rary events. Accordingly, the remainder of Ralegh's life will be sketched only 
in the broadest outlines and a comparison will be made between the careers 
of these two great adventurers. 

As early as 1593 Ralegh had become obsessed with the idea of finding El 
Dorado. The legend had grown up during the early years of European expan- 
sion into South America, and the possibility of finding great wealth had impelled 
others, before Ralegh, to explore the interior of the continent. The focus of 

156 Raleigh and Quinn 

Ralegh's expeditions would be the Orinoco — the first of the great rivers of South 
America to be experienced by Europeans and the last to be thoroughly explored. 15 
In 1594 Ralegh sent a reconnaissance ship to Guiana, followed by a full-scale 
expedition the next year. Although not yet fully rehabilitated by the Queen, 
Ralegh was authorized to take any land not already possessed by Europeans 
and to engage in privateering. He was now leader of the expedition and crossed 
the Atlantic for the first time. The ships were left at the coast and, with the 
help of Indian guides, Ralegh and his exploring party made their way by barge 
through the delta to the main course of the Orinoco. At length they came to 
the confluence of the Orinoco and Caroni rivers, and Ralegh elected to ascend 
this large tributary of the main stream. The party had travelled over two hundred 
miles upstream and seen much beautiful country but had not found the elusive 
El Dorado. They returned to the coast and eventually to England, which was 
reached in September 1595, nine months after setting out. The investors in the 
project were understandably disappointed that no great quantity of valuable metals 
had been brought back, but Ralegh wrote a glowing account of the Empire 
of Guiana, which was an immediate success and provided useful propaganda 
for further expeditions. 

But it was through a naval action, rather than through his writings and 
explorations, that Ralegh finally became reconciled to his Queen. He was given 
command of one of the five squadrons in the fleet of over one hundred ships 
that was sent out to attack Cadiz in the summer of 1596. The leaders of the 
expedition were Lord Charles Howard and the Earl of Essex; Ralegh thought 
of it as an opportunity to avenge the death of Grenville. The Spanish were quite 
unprepared, and the sacking of Cadiz by the English was as successful as Drake's 
expedition had been to the same place nearly a decade earlier. In the action in 
which he distinguished himself greatly, Ralegh was wounded in the leg as a 
result of which he limped for the remainder of his life. Upon his return he 
was reinstated as Captain of the Queen's Guard, a position he would retain until 
the death of Elizabeth. But he was now frequently absent from Court as, in 
1597, when he was Vice Admiral and commander of a squadron in an expedition 
led by Essex which attempted, without success, to intercept the Spanish treasure 
fleet in the Azores. As the result of this action relations between the Earl and 
Ralegh deteriorated. Essex now plotted against the Queen, was arrested for treason 
and condemned to death. Ralegh as Captain of the Guard was present at the 
execution of his rival on Ash Wednesday, 1601. 

The Virgin Queen who had been on the throne for over four decades was 
now growing old and the problem of succession loomed large in the minds 
of her councillors. The strongest claimant was King James VI of Scotland, the 
son of Mary, Queen of Scots. Some years before his fall Essex had prejudiced 
the King against Ralegh who, in turn, had spurned James's representative, the 
Earl of Lennox. Influential ministers and prominent courtiers now turned against 

Ralegh and Drake 157 

Ralegh so that when James became King of England in March 1603 on the 
death of Elizabeth, peace was made with Spain and Ralegh was sacrificed. He 
was deprived of many offices and within four months was once more thrown 
into the Tower of London. The charge was treason, but the evidence was vague 
and insubstantial. In the end, the sentence of death was commuted to further 
imprisonment in the Tower. The incarceration was humane; he had separate 
quarters and was allowed servants and visitors. During his imprisonment Ralegh 
and Bess, who visited him frequently, had another son, Carew, born in 1605. 

After this date among Ralegh's fellow prisoners was his friend Henry Percy, 
Earl of Northumberland (the Wizard Earl), who was supposedly implicated 
in the Gunpowder Plot. The Earl and Ralegh, who were both scientifically 
inclined, conducted experiments at the Tower. In spite of the precaution of hav- 
ing Sherborne Castle made over to their son Wat, the Raleghs were forced by 
the King to relinquish this property for reasonable compensation. A number 
of prominent people came to the Tower to consult with Ralegh, among them 
the eldest son of King James, Prince Henry, who, however, died in 1612. Ralegh 
thus lost his greatest potential ally and patron. During his four-year friendship 
with the Prince, Ralegh threw himself into his greatest literary work, The History 
of the World (published 1614). Harriot, who had returned from Roanoke to 
England with Drake's fleet in 1586, was permitted frequent access to the Tower 
and assisted Ralegh with The History and with various experiments. The book 
was denounced by the King because of its implied unfavorable comparison be- 
tween his reign and the previous one, but no effective ban was achieved. But 
because of this, and its assumed opposition to the doctrine of the Divine Right 
of Kings, it became influential among the rising Parliamentary faction. 

Since Ralegh's expedition to Guiana in 1594, a number of English adven- 
turers, some of them his servants, had been in the area. On the promise of 
locating a gold mine in Guiana if allowed to go once again himself, Ralegh 
secured his release from the Tower in 1616. Now over sixty years of age and 
not in good health, Ralegh, with the help of his wife, raised enough money 
to outfit a fleet of a dozen ships. The flagship Destiny was commanded by his 
son Wat, now in his twenties. In the summer of 1617 the ships left England 
on a voyage which, because of a royal restriction placed on it that there should 
be no conflict with the Spanairds, was doomed before it began. On arrival in 
the Caribbean Ralegh stayed off Trinidad while an expeditionary force, including 
Wat Ralegh, landed in Guiana and advanced up the Orinoco. Here the inev- 
itable confrontation between the Spanish and the English took place, and Wat 
and others were killed. They had also failed to find the promised gold mine. 

Ralegh returned to England in the Destiny in June 1618 and in August was 
again incarcerated in the Tower. After a trial on charges that were not really 
proved but mostly to placate Spain, his condemnation of 1603 was reviewed, 
and he was sentenced to die. A late attempt to escape failed, and with great 

158 Raleigh and Quinn 

dignity and bravery Sir Walter Ralegh faced his execution on 28 October 1618. 
He was buried not as his wife Bess had requested at Beddington Church but 
in St. Margaret's Westminister. "This was the end," as John Aubrey says, "of 
the great Sir Walter Raleigh, great sometimes in the favor of Queen Elizabeth 
and (next to Sir Francis Drake) the great scourge and hate of the Spaniard." 16 

Much was written about Drake and Ralegh during their lives and much more 
has been written since. Some of this may be apocryphal, but from the abundant 
literature it is possible to gain an idea of the character of these men. The best- 
known story concerning each, whether true or not, well summarizes the nature 
of Drake and Ralegh, respectively. When the message came at 3:00 p.m. on 
Friday, 13 July 1588, that the Armada had been sighted in the Channel, Drake 
was reputedly playing bowls on Plymouth Hoe. "There's time to finish the game 
and beat the Spaniards too" 17 was Drake's cool reaction to the news. He knew 
that the English fleet was prepared and that nothing could be done until the 
next ebb tide six hours later. There was, therefore, no need to panic. Similarly, 
the episode concerning Ralegh freshly back from Ireland at the English court 
spreading his "plush cloak" on the ground so that Queen Elizabeth could tread 
dryshod over a "plashy place''' or puddle, is entirely in keeping with Ralegh's 
character. 18 This story was written down after Ralegh's death but, like the Drake 
incident, it may be more than merely a fable. 

As far as their ancestery is concerned both Drake and Ralegh came from solid 
West Country stock but were related, in each case, to more prominent families. 
Drake had little formal education but, no doubt, learned reading and writing 
from his father who, as Bible reader and later Vicar, would have been at least 
reasonably literate. By contrast Ralegh attended Oxford University, knew several 
foreign languages and also received training as a lawyer. However, he was more 
interested in life at Court than in academic pursuits. When necessary Drake 
could express himself well as, for example, the speech he delivered to his crew 
on the coast of South America and also could speak Spanish freely. However, 
he preferred action to words, and his reputation may have temporarily suffered 
because he failed to publish an account of his voyages himself and left this to 
others. 19 On the other hand Ralegh was a man of letters, skilled in both poetry 
and prose. His prose work, notably The History of the World (even if only a 
first part of a longer work), is still consulted and his poetry is to be found 
in anthologies to this day. 20 Ralegh also associated with some of the most gifted 
poets of his age, including Sir Philip Sidney and Edmund Spenser, and wrote 
a clever satire on Christopher Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to his Love." 

In personal appearance Drake and Ralegh presented an interesting contrast. 
A number of contemporary portraits of each survive; both Ralegh and Drake 
were painted by the miniaturist, Nicholas Hilliard, when at the height of their 
manhood. Drake was described as "low of stature, of strong limbs, broad Breasted, 
round-headed, brown hayre[d], full Bearded, his eyes rounde, Large and Cleare, 

Ralegh and Drake 159 

well favoured, fayre and of a cheerfull countenance." 21 Ralegh "was a tall, hand- 
some and bold man. . . . His beard turned up naturally. . . . He spake broad 
Devonshire to his dyeing day. He had a most remarkeable aspect, an exceedingly] 
high forehead." 22 He was of a swarthy complexion with dark hair and beard. 
As far as his character is concerned, an anonymous contemporary wrote to Lord 
Burghley of Ralegh ". . . no man is more hated than him, none cursed more 
daily by the poor. . . . His pride is intolerable. . . ." But his friend, the Earl of 
Northumberland, writing to King James, said of Ralegh, " . . although I know 
him [to be] insolent, [and] extremely heated ... yet must I needs confess what 
I know, that there is excellent good parts of nature in him. . . V 72 Of Drake, 
after he was knighted, Stow tells us that ". . . his name and fame, became admir- 
able in all places, the People swarming Dayly in the Streetes, to behold him 
vowing hatred to all that durst mislike him. . . .In his imperfections he was 
Ambitious for honor. Unconstant in amity. Greatly affected to popularity." 24 
His prisoner, Francisco de Zarate, said that Drake treated his men with affec- 
tion and they treated him with respect, and that he had no favorites. Both Ralegh 
and Drake loved luxury. Ralegh became famous for his clothes, which were 
described as being "a considerable part of his estate" 25 while, even at sea, Drake 
had his food "served on silver dishes with gold borders and gilded garlands." 26 
Both had great success in their relations with women and both were happily 
married. Drake had no children by either of his wives; and only Carew, of the 
three sons Ralegh had with Bess, survived him. 

At the height of their powers both Ralegh and Drake were bold leaders but, 
in the end, this charismatic quality deserted them. Only when he was past his 
prime was Ralegh himself permitted the opportunity to travel to newly discovered 
lands overseas. By contrast Drake, early in his life gained fame from such ven- 
tures and contributed significantly to geographical discovery himself. His cir- 
cumnavigation was his greatest achievement and best illustrates his belief in the 
freedom of the seas. Gaspar de Vargas, his enemy, said of Drake that "there 
was no one in the world that understood the art [of navigation] better than 
he." 27 It was through the capture of Spanish treasure, directly in the case of 
Drake and more indirectly through Ralegh, that the English economy was 
immediately improved. As a result of Drake's enterprise in Asia and Ralegh's 
in North America, others were to establish colonial possessions in those areas 
which contributed remarkably to the expansion of British influence worldwide 
in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly. In the long run the 
most important effect of this colonization has been the spread of the English 

Although not appointed to the Privy Council, as members of Parliament Drake 
and Ralegh had considerable political influence but neither was a "politician" 
nor an important policy maker. In the matter of religion, through association 
with others rather than through his own words and actions, Ralegh was accused 

160 Raleigh and Quinn 

of being an atheist. Ralegh was a philosophical theologian while Drake was 
a thoroughly evangelical Protestant. Ralegh's interest in chemical experiments, 
which he carried out while in the Tower, where he prepared medications, made 
him suspect of witchcraft in some quarters. These interests were shared by his 
fellow prisoner, Northumberland, and also by Harriot, who was a skeptic, though 
not an atheist. Although it is too much to claim that Ralegh introduced tobacco 
into England (it was known long before the 1580s), he most certainly pop- 
ularized its use. Aromatic plants were collected on Drake's circumnavigation, 
and the first scientific account of the voyage was a botanical work by Charles 
de l'Ecluse. 28 Both Ralegh and Drake did much to promote navigation, scien- 
tific illustration, and cartography. The contributions of Harriot to navigation, 
though unpublished, were considerable; 29 and White's delineations of coastal 
Carolina, its inhabitants, flora, and fauna were the best of the area for many 
years. 30 Ralegh mapped the coast of the island of Trinidad himself during his 
visit in 1595. Similarly, Drake had a great concern with drawing and cartog- 
raphy, as well as navigation, as indicated by Nuno da Silva, his Portuguese prisoner 
who reported: "Francis Drake kept a book in which he entered his navigation 
and in which he delineated birds, trees and sealions. He is adept at painting 
and has with him a boy [his young cousin John Drake] who is a great painter." 31 
Zarate commented that Drake's coastal views were so natural that "no one who 
guides himself according to these paintings can possibly go astray." 32 Unfortu- 
nately all these original Drake materials are lost, unlike the splendid maps and 
drawings by John White and Thomas Harriot of coastal Carolina, which we 
can still enjoy today. 33 

In the flamboyant Sir Walter Ralegh and the more pragmatic Sir Francis Drake 
we see two figures whose lives exaggerate certain characteristics of the Elizabethan 
age. Drake was fortunate enough not to live into the new reign while Ralegh, 
whose loyalty to the Queen was absolute, could not come to terms with the 
Jacobean age. 


*Stephen B. Baxter, Kenan professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel 
Hill, introduced Norman Thrower as follows: "Norman Thrower was born in England in 1919 
and came to this country in 1947 after seven years' service in the British Army. He is probably 
too modest to want you to know that he was awarded the Burma Star. He took his B.A. at 
Charlottesville and his advanced degrees at Madison, joining the geography faculty at UCLA 
in 1957. For the past thirty years he has been exceptionally successful there as a teacher, as 
a scholar, as an administrator, and indeed as a grantsman. Since 1981 he has combined his 
professorship in geography with the post of director of the William Andrews Clark Memorial 
Library at UCLA. In these years he has not only administered the library but raised a good 
deal of money for its endowment. 

Ralegh and Drake 161 

"Norman's early publications were in the field of cartography, both of Burma and of southern 
California. This led on naturally enough to an interest in the work of Edmond Halley, who 
made major contributions in the field of cartography at the turn of the eighteenth century 
before going on to the astronomical observations for which he is best known. In 1981 the 
Hakluyt Society published his two-volume work, The Three Voyages of Edmond Halley in the 
Paramore 1698-1701. As the research for this work went on, Norman became interested in 
the South Atlantic voyages of an earlier Englishman, Francis Drake. 

"None of us who have felt only the leg or the trunk of the elephant can appreciate the full 
extent of our debt to Norman, and to Dr. Helen Wallis and Professor Quinn, for their great 
work in the celebrations of the past ten years. The labours of the Sir Francis Drake Commission 
actually began in 1973, and here fourteen years later we are still celebrating with this International 
Sir Walter Raleigh Conference. The parties have been important in focusing public attention 
on the discoveries of the first Elizabethans. The papers and books which have been written 
for the occasion have deepened our knowledge of those discoveries and of the English world 
of four hundred years ago which made those discoveries possible. We are now a plural society, 
and happy with it, but it would be shameful for us to forget our English heritage. 

"Norman served on the Sir Francis Drake Commission, and became its President. He also 
edited the book published to celebrate Drake's landing in 1579, Sir Francis Drake and the Famous 
Voyage, 1577-1580. I was rather suspicious of all this interest in naval affairs on the part of 
an Army man until I discovered that Norman's grandfather had been one Captain Bailey, a 
naval officer. So he comes by the sea naturally enough, as do most Englishmen. It is a real 
pleasure to have Professor Thrower with us today. He will speak to us on 'Raleigh and Drake.' " 

Un the Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1917 and later) 
which has articles on all of these men, some nineteen pages are devoted to Ralegh and sixteen 
to Drake. Of the others Sir John Hawkins has the largest biography in this source, slightly 
over seven pages. 

2 For recent authoritative accounts of these voyages see especially the writings of David B. 
Quinn, including Set Fair For Roanoke: Voyages and Colonies, 1584-1606 (Chapel Hill and London: 
University of North Carolina Press, 1985). This was published for America's Four Hundreth 
Anniversary Committee. 

3 For an up-to-date description of a major Tudor ship, see Margaret Rule, The Mary Rose: 
The Excavation and Raising of Henry VIITs Flagship (Leicester: Windward Press, 1982). 

4 There is considerable literature on Drake recently augmented by, and referred to in, Norman 
JW. Thrower (editor), Sir Francis Drake and the Famous Voyage: Essays Commemorating the 
Quadricentennial of Drake's Circumnavigation of the Earth (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: 
University of California Press, 1984). This work, which contains ten specialized essays and 
an extensive bibliography, was published for the Sir Francis Drake Commission, State of California. 

5 David W. Waters, The Art of Navigation in Elizabethan and Early Stuart Times (London: Hollis 
and Carter, 1958) is the authoritative work on this topic. 

6 Robert Lacey, Sir Walter Ralegh (London: Weidenfield and Nicolson, 1973), and Norman 
Lloyd Williams, Sir Walter Ralegh (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1962) are the fairly recent 
and standard works on the life of Ralegh. The latter contains long quotations from the original 
writings of Ralegh and others. 

7 John Hampden (editor), Francis Drake, Privateer: Contemporary Narratives and Documents (Univer- 
sity, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 1972) reprints important accounts of Drake's earlier 
voyages with annotations. Later voyages are the subject of two Hakluyt Society Publications, 
Mary Frear Keeler (editor), Sir Francis Drake's West Indian Voyages, 1585-86 (London: Hakluyt 
Society, Second Series, 148, 1981) and Kenneth R. Andrews (editor), The Last Voyage of Drake 
and Hawkins (Cambridge: Hakluyt Society, Second Series, 142, 1972). 

8 Hampden, op. cit., p. 45. 

162 Raleigh and Quinn 

'Warren L. Hanna, Lost Harbor: The Controversy over Drake's California Anchorage (Berkeley, 
Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1979). 

10 The term is Richard Hakluyt's, from his account of Drake's circumnavigation in The prin- 
cipal! navigations, voiages and discoveries of the English nation (London: 1589). 

n Quinn, Set Fair for Roanoke, op. cit., especially pp. 131-139, and Keeler, op. cit., pp. 40 and 

12 The report in the town records of Plymouth states that Drake "did greatly annoy the King 
of Spain's flete." Quoted in Crispin Gill, "Drake and Plymouth" in Thrower (editor), op cit., p. 86. 

13 David B. Quinn (editor), The Last Voyage of Thomas Cavendish, 1591-1592 (Chicago: Society 
for the History of Discoveries and the Newberry Library, University of Chicago Press, 1975). 

14 Gill in Thrower, (editor), op. cit., p. 89. 

15 Christopher Columbus on his third voyage to the New World in 1598 passed along the 
southern shore of the Island of Trinidad and, by the great amount of fresh water being emptied 
into the sea, believed he was off the coast of a continent (Asia). Angel Falls, the highest waterfall 
in the world, on a tributary of the Caroni River, was discovered by air by James (Jimmy) Angel 
in 1935. 

16 John Aubrey, Brief Lives, 6 fol. 78, edited by A. Clark (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1898), p. 189. 

17 Richard Boulind, Crispin Gill, Martin Wright, and G. Chowdary-Best, "That Game of 
Bowls," Mariner's Mirror, (November 1971): 447-450. A series of letters on the subject. 

18 Thomas Fuller, The History of the Worthies of England (London: 1662), p. 262. 

19 This matter is discussed at length in "Early Accounts of the Famous Voyage" by David 
B. Quinn in Thrower (editor), op. cit., pp. 33-49. 

20 Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (editor), The Oxford Book of English Verse, (London: Oxford Univer- 
sity Press, 1940). Three pages are devoted to four of Ralegh's poems in this authoritative anthology. 
In The New Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1950, chosen and edited by Helen Gardner (Oxford: 
Oxford University Press, 1972) there are also four poems by Ralegh covering over six pages. 
Ralegh is similarly represented in other major anthologies of English verse. 

21 John Stow, The Annals or Generall Chronicle of England (London: 1615), p. 808. 

22 John Aubrey, Brief Lives, op. cit., 6 fol. 75, 75v. 

23 Quoted in Williams, op. cit., pp. 69-70, 164. 

24 Stow, op. cit., p. 807-8. 

25 Fuller, op. cit., p. 262. 

26 Hampden, op. cit., p. 214, quoting Don Francisco de Zarate. 

27 Hampden, op. cit., p. 216. 

28 Charles de l'Ecluse, Caroli Clvsii Atreh aliavot notae in Garciae Aromatum Historiam. Eisudem 
descriptiones nonnullarum Stirpium, & aliarum exoticarum rerum, que a Generoso vir Francisco Drake 
(Antewerp: 1582). 

29 David W. Waters, "Elizabethan Navigation" in Thrower (editor), op. cit., p. 31. 

30 Paul Hulton and David Quinn (editors), The American Drawings of fohn White (London 
and Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2 volumes, 1964). 

31 Helen Wallis, "The Cartography of Drake's Voyage" in Thrower (editor), op. cit., p. 123. 

32 Op. cit., p. 123. Several maps with elements derived from Drake's delineations which can 
be dated some years after "The Famous Voyage" are extant; see Helen Wallis, "The Cartography 
of Drake's Voyage" in Thrower, op cit. These include the Drake-Mellon map with insets showing 
incidents on the voyage in Asia and flags of St. George: at Drake's two most important discoveries 
in the Americas, Drake Passage (1578) and Nova Albion (1579); at Baffin Island (Frobisher's 
claim of 1576); and at Ralegh's Roanoke Colony, dated on the map, 1585. 

33 Hulton and Quinn (editors), op. cit. 

Ralegh and Drake 


"*y*\'V , y 

i Mi 

t i ^ * I c 

i ! ! 

Stephen B. Baxter (top), Kenan professor of history at UNC-CH, introduced Norman 
J. W. Thrower (bottom right) and Jerry W. Mills. They spoke respectively on "Raleigh 
and Drake" and "Raleigh as a Man of Letters." 

Sir Walter Raleigh as a Man of Letters 

Jerry heath Mills* 

My title is one I arrived at, as some might say, in the spirit of colonialism 
itself: I expropriated it from its previous owner. That owner was Professor Frank 
Hersey, who used it for a paper he prepared for a conference very similar to 
our present meeting, scheduled in North Carolina in 1918 but cancelled because 
of the influenza epidemic. Its intended proceedings were published by the State 
Literary and Historical Association the same year. Hersey 's purpose was the same 
as my own — a general overview of Raleigh's literary activity— and our shared 
title is thus appropriately general, if not vague. 

Our emphases, however, are somewhat different, and they reflect the critical 
climates of the respective times. For Hersey, Raleigh's poetry— his earliest literary 
mode— was interesting as a repository of catchy phrases and for selected examples 
of Raleigh's tough-mindedness; but Raleigh, for him, was essentially a master 
of prose, and specifically the prose of a man of action: "He did not carve his 
sentences in alabaster," Hersey writes, "he cut them out with his sword." And 
he adds: "Sometimes hacked them, too." 1 

This is a view— Raleigh's literary achievement as synonymous with his 
achievement in prose — that remained more or less constant from Raleigh's death 
to well into our century. Henry David Thoreau, for one, regretted that Raleigh 
wrote any poetry at all. But in recent decades the poems have earned revaluation 
and a new appreciation. One factor in this has been the researches of Professor 
Lefranc 2 and others toward establishing a reliable canon of his writings. Another 
is a growing interest among literary scholars in Raleigh's influence, as a poet, 
on his great poetic contemporary, Edmund Spenser. 3 

These, at any rate, are major factors in my interest in Raleigh the poet, because 
nothing in my background as a North Carolinian prepared me to see him in 
that light, even though, in this state, we all grow up with Sir Walter the man. 
If you grew up here, as I did, you probably don't remember ever not knowing 
about him. As a youth you may have tended, as I did, to confuse him with 
Prince Albert, since both have achieved a kind of aromatic immortality on tobacco 
packages, and if you saw him in The Lost Colony in the 1950s you may remember 
that he talked a lot like the Sheriff of Mayberry, since Andrew Griffith played 
the role. You knew him as an adventurer, a founder and loser of colonies, a 
man who flung ships across the ocean and his cloak in the mud before the Queen. 
You may have heard that he established the vogue of tobacco- smoking in England 
and that he introduced the potato to Ireland, thus inventing the Irish potato. 
You may even have been aware that he wrote a million words on The History 
of the World before giving up at 131 B.C. But you probably didn't think of him 


Raleigh and Quinn 

as a poet, and certainly not the author of anything like this: 

Hir face, Hir tong, Hir wit 

Hir face, 

Hir tong, 

Hir wit, 

So faire, 

So sweete, 

So sharpe, 

First bent, 

Then drew, 

Then hit, 

Mine eie, 

Mine eare, 

My hart. 

Mine eie, 

Mine eare 

My hart, 

To like, 

To learne, 

To loue, 

Hir face, 

Hir tong 

Hir wit, 

Doth lead, 

doth teach, 

Doth moue. 

Oh face, 

Oh tong, 

Oh wit, 

With frownes, 

With checke, 

With smart, 

Wrong not, 

Vexe not, 

Wound not, 

Mine eie, 

Mine eare, 

My hart. 

Mine eie, 

Mine eare, 

My hart, 

To learne, 

To knowe, 

To feare 

Hir face, 

Hir tong, 

Hir wit, 

Doth lead, 

Doth teach, 

Doth sweare. 4 

We aren't absolutely sure that Raleigh wrote this poem (I'll mention some of 
the authorship problems later on), and perhaps we should hope, that he didn't. 
It is, of course, as much a riddle as a poem, capable of being read at least three 
ways: vertically, stanza by stanza and column by column; horizontally, stanza 
by stanza; and horizontally, line by line ("Hir face, Hir tong, Hir wit, /So faire, 
so sweete, So sharpe," etc.). The evidence for Raleigh's authorship is rather strong, 
whether we like it or not, and this poem, like several others that probably date 
from the late 1580s, is so different from what we usually think of as his public 
personality that it provides a focal point for the question, why did Sir Walter 
Raleigh write poetry? 

One answer is readily available and often repeated: writing poetry was one 
of the expected accomplishments of a courtier in Raleigh's time, like dancing, 
horsemanship, facility in French and Italian, and the ability to lie with a straight 
face. This is true; but the essential reasons go deeper than that. They repose, 
first of all, in the major emphases of education in the sixteenth century, and, 
second, in the initially political uses Raleigh was to perceive for the prevailing 
literary fashions of the day. 

We don't know a great deal about Raleigh's individual educational experience, 
but unless it was markedly different from that of other young men of his class 
it was based on several assumptions we now think of as typical of a Renaissance 
world view. It was aimed, at least in theory, at producing the Whole Man, 

Raleigh as a Man of Letters 167 

the integrated personality— the "Renaissance Man," as we now say— for whom 
contemplation and study were not goals to be pursued for themselves, but rather 
as a basis for informed and purposeful action in the real world. Although based 
solidly on the Greek and Roman classics, with a heavy admixture of theology, 
it was not an Ivory Tower education. It was, in its central interest, preparation 
for public service. 

Public service in Elizabethan England meant the clergy, the military, and the 
government, with its center at the royal court. At the higher levels of all these 
pursuits the requisite abilities were the arts of expression, communication, and, 
especially, persuasion: the power, through language, to move men's minds. 
Destinies both personal and national were assumed to be shaped not only with 
the sword but with the pen and tongue. Consequently, education at almost 
all stages stressed literary style as well as the mastery of a body of knowledge, 
on the reasonable assumption that, since we think chiefly in words, a clear and 
elegant style provides a medium or matrix for the clear and elegant formulation 
of thought. Students studied logic and rhetoric both in theory and in practical 
situations — the great Roman historians, for example, were read not simply for 
historical information and political theory but also in order to analyze the orations 
they attribute to the statesmen and military leaders of the Ancient World. Students 
staged plays to improve their forensic skills, and recitation sessions were conducted 
largely through debate, often on paradoxes, unsolved problems, and unresolvable 
questions, such as "Which is better, day or night?" (One testimony to the 
popularity of that topic is Milton's pair of poems, "LAllegro" and "11 Penseroso," 
which elevate that issue to a high metaphysical plane.) Since these problems 
had few possibilities of resolution, the premium was on wit, ingenuity, and 
rhetorical organization — the same qualities evident in the poem "Hir face, Hir 
tong, Hir wit"— and the exercise of these was excellent preparation for life in 
the labyrinth of patronage, clientage, and competitiveness that constituted the 

In keeping with this stress on style and verbal elegance, sixteenth-century 
schooling placed a special value on the study and composition of poetry. Poetry, 
then as now, offered a special challenge, with its strict requirements for appropriate 
diction, inventiveness, and the decorous conjunction of content and form. Students 
were made to memorize large segments of Latin verse, analyze its rhetorical 
strategies, and then rewrite it in English, varying and adapting it to purposes 
conceived by themselves. "Modern" poetry was not formally studied, but young 
scholars read it on their own, especially the recent continental works, and it 
was a dull pupil who could not quote lavishly from the Italian of Petrarch and 
the French of Ronsard and Du Bellay. 

This taste for continental poetry, and for imitations of it in English, continued 
into the adult lives of many men, especially those who sought to make their 
way in the atmosphere of Elizabeth's Court. The Queen herself wrote poetry. 

168 Raleigh and Quinn 

She loved symbolism, stylization, and formal elegance, and she seems to have 
shared the appetite, current all over Europe in the 1580s, for love poetry in the 
vein of the great Italian Francesco Petrarca — or, as he was known in England, 
Francis Petrarch. 

Petrarch had lived and written two centuries before Raleigh; but most 
Elizabethans thought of him as a contemporary in spirit. His enduring, indeed 
continually growing, popularity throughout Europe lay in the formula for love 
poetry he developed in the 317 sonnets he wrote to his idealized lady, Laura. 
Petrarch in effect taught succeeding generations how to write love poetry that 
combined sex with spirituality and thus satisfied both the emotional and 
philosophical instincts of the Renaissance man. In its paradigmatic, popularized 
form, the Petrarchan progress goes something like this: The poet is smitten 
with love at the first sight of his lady, overwhelmed first by her physical beauty 
and, later, equally appreciative of her personality and mind — he admires not 
only her face, as Raleigh puts it, but also her tongue (expressive of her refined 
ideas) and wit. 

However, in keeping with the chastity that is, for the poet, a part of her 
attractiveness, she remains aloof and inattentive to his pleas. He idealizes her— 
places her on a pedestal, as we now say— addresses her as a goddess and the 
sovereign mistress of his heart. He reacts violently to his passion and becomes 
subject to chills and fever. He burns like fire, he freezes like ice. Her every whim 
carries, for him, the power of life and death, and in the agony of his unrequited 
love he calls her cruel, unfeeling, a tyrant and murderess. He threatens to die, 
or move to the country. 

What this pose is supposed to demonstrate, of course, is the lover's sensitivity, 
his capacity for refined feeling and deep appreciation of beauty. And it leads, 
ultimately, to a religious experience. As he suffers and loves, the lover comes 
to understand that the lady's beauty is simply an earthly manifestation of the 
greater beauty of God, who created both the lady's beauty and the poet's ability 
to love. Thus the adoration of Laura leads to the worship of God, and earthly 
love finds its justification as one rung on a ladder leading to heaven. 

It was probably Raleigh's knowledge of Irish affairs that brought him to the 
Queen's attention around 1582. Once he had that attention he found means 
to keep it through a behaviorial mode based on the Petrarchism of the time. 
In the poems he addressed to her he created a kind of "political Petrarchism" 5 
that appealed, not simply to Elizabeth's vanity, but to her love of ceremony, 
gamesmanship, and extravagant behavior. The story of Raleigh's spreading his 
cloak before the Queen is most likely untrue in a factual sense, but it is directly 
in keeping with the attitude he expresses in the poems he wrote to her. 6 

What Raleigh exploits in this type of poem is, as Leonard Tennenhouse has 
discussed in an excellent essay, 7 the literal applicability of a vocabulary that is 
only metaphorical in Petrarch's poems. Elizabeth was a sovereign ruler. She did 

Raleigh as a Man of Letters 169 

wield power over life and death. She was unattainable (the Virgin Queen). And 
she was more or less literally on a pedestal — at least a throne. That she could 
be a tyrant was abundantly demonstrated in her treatment of her courtiers and 
was to be shown most forcefully in 1592 when she clapped Raleigh in the Tower. 
The gifts at Elizabeth's disposal— power, prestige, and riches— made the amatory 
favors of the ordinary love object seem paltry. The Petrarchan mode allowed 
Raleigh to translate these political realities into a refined and graceful idiom 
of praise, cajolement, and solicitation. 

The following example of that kind of poem, "Praised be Diana's fair and 
harmless light," is typical of Raleigh's poetic idealization of the Queen and typical 
also in possessing an elaborate and self-serving subtext established by allusion. 

Praisd be Dianas faire and harmles light, 
Praisd be the dewes, wherwith she moists the ground; 
Praisd be hir beames, the glorie of the night, 
Praisd be hir powre, by which all powres abound. 

Praisd be hir Nimphs, with whom she decks the woods, 
Praisd be hir knights, in whom true honor Hues, 
Praisd be that force, by which she moues the floods, 
Let that Diana shine, which all these giues. 

In heauen Queene she is among the spheares, 
In ay she Mistres like makes all things pure, 
Eternite in hir oft chaunge she beares, 
She beautie is, by hir the faire endure. 

Time weares hir not, she doth his chariot guide, 
Mortalitie below hir orbe is plaste, 
By hir the vertue of the Starrs downe slide, 
In hir is vertues perfect image cast. 

A knowledge pure it is hir worth to kno, 
With Circes let them dwell that thinke not so. 

Raleigh here, as frequently, addresses the Virgin Queen under the name of one 
of the various goddesses associated with chastity: Diana, Cynthia, Belphoebe. 
These figures, in myth, are all associated with the moon. The planet customarily 
used as a symbol for kingship, from biblical times forward, was not the moon 
but the sun, partially because of its primacy in the heavens and also because 
of its related symbolism of the virtue of Justice. Sunlight is relentless in its search- 
ing out of evil, and while it makes life possible on earth, it can also scorch, 
burn, and punish. The sun, in gendered languages, is inevitably a masculine noun. 
But the moon, equally dominant in its own sphere of time, is soft and feminine. 
In contrast with the justice of the sun, the moon represents mercy, consolation, 

170 Raleigh and Quinn 

and love. By its gentle light— 'harmless light," as Raleigh says— flaws are overlooked 
and beauty is brought to the lives of others. Thus a somewhat cynical but essentially 
accurate paraphrase of the first line, "Praised be Diana's fair and harmless light," 
might be: "Please make me warden of the tin mines. Please give me the monopoly 
on imported wines. Please invest a few thousand in a trip to the Outer Banks." 
When Raleigh wished to appear hurt by the Queen's real or fancied inattention 
to him, he assumed a further extension of the Petrarchan pose, that of the lover 
in despair, casting himself into isolation and woe. This is the pose of "Like 
to a hermit poor," which contains an image of sartorial self-denial that must 
have seemed especially ludicrous to contemporaries familiar at first hand with 
Raleigh's propensity for extravagant dress and self- adornment: 

Like to a Hermite poore in place obscure, 
I meane to spend my daies of endles doubt, 
To waile such woes as time cannot recure, 
Where none but Loue shall euer finde me out. 

My foode shall be of care and sorow made, 

My drink nought else but teares falne from mine eies, 

And for my light in such obscured shade, 

The flames shall serue, which from my hart arise. 

A gowne of graie, my bodie shall attire, 
My staffe of broken hope wheron lie staie, 
Of late repentance linckt with long desire, 
The couch is fram'de whereon my limbs He lay, 

And at my gate dispaire shall linger still, 
To let in death when Loue and Fortune will. 

To the modern ear these poems sound overwrought, even fulsome. In the 
nineteenth century, Thoreau, as I have mentioned, didn't like them at all. He 
remarked that in them Raleigh's "genius seems warped by the frivolous society 
of the Court." 8 Such a comment overlooks the degree to which Raleigh's idealiza- 
tion was, apart from its function as flattery, homage to the concept of monarchy 
for which Elizabeth stood. Nonetheless, if these poems were all of Raleigh's 
verse that we possessed, his reputation as a poet would be a very minor one 
indeed. Fortunately he moved on from this vein, or alternated with this vein, 
another, more private kind of poetry in which the personality we think we 
know seems more accurately expressed. In these poems Raleigh's vision penetrates 
beyond the surface glitter of the court to the grimmer and more authentic truths 
of disappointment, impermanence, and the constant possibility of betrayal and 
loss. His best poems are preoccupied, as is The History of the World, with the 
fragile nature of human achievement in the constant process of time and inevitable 

Raleigh as a Man of Letters 171 

An excellent example of this tone, and of Raleigh's subtlety in expressing 
it, is the sonnet he wrote to accompany the first installment of Edmund Spenser's 
great epic, The Faerie Queene, in which, topically, Raleigh appears as a major 
character, thinly disguised under the name of Timias, Prince Arthur's squire. 
This sonnet is one of the few poems by Raleigh that we can date firmly: he 
wrote it in 1589, when The Faerie Queene was being readied for publication 
the next year. The ostensible purpose is to praise Spenser by declaring that his 
poem will eclipse all previous achievements in verse, including those of Petrarch, 
whose Laura will be forgotten in favor of Spenser's Gloriana. The ghosts of 
Homer and other Ancient poets will howl in the underworld to see their works 
displaced by Spenser. 

Methought I saw the graue, where Laura lay, 

Within that Temple, where the vestall flame 

Was wont to burne, and passing by that way, 

To see that buried dust of liuing fame, 

Whose tumbe faire loue, and fairer vertue kept, 

All suddeinly I saw the Faery Queene: 

At whose approch the soule of Petrarke wept, 

And from thenceforth those graces were not seene. 

For they this Queene attended, in whose steed 

Obliuion laid him downe on Lauras herse: 

Hereat the hardest stones were seene to bleed, 

And grones of buried ghostes the heuens did perse. 
Where Homers spright did tremble all for griefe, 
And curst th' accesse of that celestiall thiefe. 

This is successful enough as witty praise; but Peter Ure has called attention 
to the fact that only four of the fourteen lines are on Spenser's poem, while 
the rest concentrate on the theme of displacement, on the abandonment and 
despair of those whom oblivion will now cover. And Raleigh's emotional 
identification, as Ure observes, is clearly with these. 9 

There is, most likely, a personal dimension to all this. In 1589 Raleigh was 
in fact threatened with displacement, in the Queen's hierarchy of favorites, by 
the young Earl of Essex. But is isn't just personal. Raleigh is here, in effect, 
finding his subject, formulating an early statement of the theme of his longest 
and most complex poem about Elizabeth, The Ocean to Cynthia, and eventually 
of The History of the World: that all good things lack permanence, and man 
is condemned forever to watch his finest achievements fade. 

We can see Raleigh's clearest expression of this theme — and one of the most 
poignant expressions of it that the Renaissance produced— in the poem beginning 
"Nature, that washed her hands in milk." This is a poem that begins with the 
poet idealizing his lady, moves to the Petrarchan image of the proud and tyranniz- 
ing beauty, the "cruel fair," and then exposes the self-deluding nature of both 
attitudes in the presence of devouring time: 

172 Raleigh and Quinn 

Nature that washt her hands in milke 

And had forgott to dry them, 
In stead of earth tooke snow and silke 

At Loues request to trye them, 
If she a mistresse could compose 
To please Loues fancy out of those. 

Her eyes he would should be of light, 

A Violett breath, and Lipps of Jelly, 
Her hair not blacke, nor ouer bright, 

And of the softest downe her Belly, 
As for her inside hee'ld haue it 
Only of wantonnesse and witt. 

At Loues entreaty, such a one 

Nature made, but with her beauty 
She had framed a heart of stone, 

So as loue by ill destinie 
Must dye for her whom nature gaue him 
Because her darling would not saue him. 

But Time which nature doth despise, 

And rudely giues her loue the lye, 
Makes hope a foole, and sorrow wise, 

His hands doth neither wash, nor dry, 
But being made of Steele and rust, 
Turnes snow, and silke, and milke to dust. 

The Light, the Belly, lipps and breath, 

He dimms, discolours, and destroys, 
With those he feedes, but fills not death, 

Which sometimes were the foode of Joyes; 
Yea Time doth dull each liuely witt, 
And dryes all wantonnes with it. 

Oh cruell Time which takes in trust 

Our youth, our Joyes and all we haue, 
And payes us but with age and dust, 

Who in the darke and silent graue 
When we haue wandred all our wayes 
Shutts up the story of our dayes. 

A strange and haunting evocation of this transience of earthly things is the 
poem, "As You Came From the Holy Land." There Raleigh takes an old ballad, 
dating back to medieval times, when Walsingham was a popular shrine for 
religious pilgrims, and adapts it to a rejection of all the false promises of the 

Raleigh as a Man of Letters 173 

world, promises symbolized by the lady of the poem, who has chosen variety 
and new experience over loyalty to the adoring lover in his advancing age. The 
pilgrim's final attitude, a rejection of earthly for philosophical and spiritual love, 
is the medieval attitude of contetnptus mundi, a substitution of contemplation 
and retreat for more worldly involvements: 

Of women kynde suche indeed is the loue 

Or the word Loue abused 
Vnder which many chyldysh desyres 

And conceytes are excusde. 

Butt true Loue is a durable fyre 

In the mynde euer burnynge; 
Neuer sycke, neuer olde, neuer dead, 

From itt selfe neuer turnynge. 

Never turning from itself, that is, to the distractions of the active life. Perhaps 
fortunately for the course of empire, this was a program Raleigh himself was 
able to follow only when he was behind bars. 

We can observe Raleigh's awareness of the human propensity for self-delusion 
about matters of permanence and change in a witty and sardonic vein in 
his famous reply to Christopher Marlowe's pastoral invitation, "Come live 
with me and be my love." In that poem Marlowe has indulged himself in the 
conventional pastoral escapist fantasy, that the answer to man's problems is retreat 
from social complexity into a natural world whose beauty is self-justifying and 
transcendent of all the confusion and stress of life in the town. It is the attitude 
we now call "neo-primitivism" and is much in evidence in our own time, 
when many believe that life's challenges are best dealt with by moving to a 
cabin, studying Mother Earth News, and playing John Denver records without 
interruption. After this poem began to circulate in the early 1590s it began 
to be accompanied by its companion piece (usually though not always attributed 
to Raleigh). Raleigh's reply is from the viewpoint of the nymph, who has been 
around enough to know that Marlowe's shepherd, in assuming the permanence 
of youth and joy, is promising what no man can deliver. Raleigh's concluding 
stanza sums up the nymph's cautious and commonsensical position: 

But could youth last, and loue still breede, 
Had ioyes no date, nor age no neede, 
Then these delights my minde might moue, 
To Hue with thee, and be thy loue. 

There are around forty poems generally attributed to Raleigh, only about 
half of which can be claimed with any degree of certainty. The difficulty of 
attribution is partly owing to the social assumptions behind the role of the 
courtier/poet: poetry, as I said earlier, was an expected accomplishment of a 

174 Raleigh and Quinn 

courtly man, but it was also expected that this poetry would remain within 
the confines of its social milieu. To seek publication of one's poems would have 
been, for a courtier, to show too much concern for what one was supposed 
to treat with cultivated nonchalance. So Raleigh made no attempt to preserve 
his poems. Nor did his widow, although she allegedly preserved his head, 
embalmed in a velvet bag, until the end of her life. To add confusion, Raleigh 
was such a popular and controversial figure that many things he didn't write 
were ascribed to him by others. 

With his prose works we are on firmer ground; a number of these were 
published with his own supervision, and they were widely disseminated in his 
own time. He was a magnificent prose stylist, and he wrote a great deal, especially 
during his long imprisonment after 1603 — treatises on shipbuilding, agriculture 
and economics, royal marriages, the conduct of war, the nature of the soul, 
and the monumental History of the World which he published, incomplete, in 
1614. During the reign of Elizabeth his major prose work had been The Discovery 
of Guiana (1596), which has been called one of the best true adventure stories 
ever written, 10 with its vivid narration of his journey up the Orinoco River, 
its detailed accounts of the land and the Indian inhabitants, and its lavish promise 
of what was to be gained by further investigation in the interest of a permanent 
English base in Spanish America. 

What distinguishes almost all of Raleigh's prose is its vibrancy, immediacy, 
and closeness to actual experience— of which Raleigh of course had a great deal. 
Thoreau remarked, aptly, that he gives the impression of writing with a sword 
in one hand and a pen in the other. He always writes with a concrete purpose, 
and he always writes to persuade. He prefers the first person as a narrative stance, 
and the reader of his chief works is constantly aware of a unique, dominating 
personality behind the page. Ancient battles in The History of the World are 
illustrated with tactical details from his own military experience, and he tells 
us how this or that problem was handled when he met with it in France, or 
Ireland, or on the high seas. Biblical peoples are compared in various ways with 
the aborigines of Guiana and North Carolina. On the basis of personal study 
he concludes that the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden must have been ficus 
indica, the Indian Fig Tree. 

Given this sense of immediacy and individualism, it is tempting to conclude, 
as Thoreau seems to, that Raleigh was simply a natural stylist, and that his 
achievements in prose are the results of spontaneity and natural talent. Natural 
talent must have had a great deal to do with it; but it is not the whole story. 
For that we turn again to the education of the Renaissance man. 

Having presumably been trained, like other Elizabethan pupils, on Aristotle's 
Rhetoric, Raleigh must have had drilled into him as a boy the three basic approaches 
of persuasive writing and oratory: ethos, pathos, and logos, or, the ethical, pathetic, 
and logical approaches. All three, Aristotle had written, must combine in an 
effective presentation. 

Raleigh as a Man of Letters 175 

The criterion of ethos refers to the speaker's establishment of his own authority 
to speak, his command of the facts, and the legitimacy of his purposes. He 
must gain the audience's confidence in his character. Notice how Raleigh does 
this in the following passage from The Discovery of Guiana, with its stress on 
the narrator's sober and competent possession of fact and detail. Surely this man 
can be trusted to get a traveler— and an investor's money— there and back: 

The great river of Orinoco or Baraguan hath nine branches which fall 
out on the north side of his own main mouth: on the south side it hath 
seven other fallings into the sea, so it disembogueth by 16 arms in all, 
between Islands and broken ground, but the Islands are very great, many 
of them as big as the Isle of Wight and bigger, and many less: from the 
first branch on the north to the last of the south it is at least 100 leagues, 
so as the river's mouth is no less than 300 miles wide at his entrance 
into the sea, which I take to be far bigger than that of Amazones: all 
those that inhabit in the mouth upon the several north branches are those 
Tivitivas, of which there are two chief Lords which have continual wars 
one with the other: the Islands which lie on the right hand are called 
Pallamos, and the land on the left Hororotomaka, and the river by which 
John Douglas returned within the land from Amana to Capuri, they call 
Macuri. 11 

Then follows the criterion of pathos, the writer's appeal to the emotions of 
his audience. This is Raleigh's goal in the most frequently quoted passage of 
the entire Discovery, a passage that evokes a pristine, Edenic beauty in the landscape 
and instills it with just enough danger to make it exciting: 

On both sides of this river, we passed the most beautiful country that 
ever mine eyes beheld: and whereas all that we had seen before was nothing 
but woods, prickles, bushes, and thorns, here we beheld plains of twenty 
miles in length, the grasses short and green, and in divers parts groves 
of trees by themselves, as if they had been by all the art and labour in 
the world so made of purpose: and still as we rowed, the Deer came 
down feeding by the water's side, as if they had been used to a keeper's 
call. Upon this river there were great store of fowl, and of many sorts: 
we saw in it divers sorts of strange fishes, and of marvelous bigness, but 
for Lagartos it exceeded, for there were thousands of those ugly serpents, 
and the people call it for the abundance of them the river of Lagartos, 
in their language. I had a Negro a very proper young fellow, that leaping 
out of the Galley to swim in the mouth of this river, was in all our sights 
taken and devoured with one of those Lagartos. 

The criterion of logos, the logical approach, gets us to the purpose of it all. 
Having prepared us for the pitch, as it were, by eliciting our trust in the speaker 
and by making us participate in the emotional experience of the trip, Raleigh 
turns from time to time to the why and the how. The why is the need for 

176 Raleigh and Quinn 

development of Guiana as a hedge against Spanish power and as a source of 
national treasure: 

Now although these reports may seem Strang yet if we consider the 
many millions which are daily brought out of Peru into Spain, we may 
easily believe the same, for we find that by the a'nindant treasure of that 
country, the Spanish King vexeth all the Princes of Europe, and is become 
in a few years from a poor king of Castile the greatest monarch of this 
part of the world, and likely every day to increase, if other Princes foreslow 
the good occasions offered, and suffer him to add this Emprie to the 
rest, which by far exceedeth all the rest: if his gold now endanger us, 
he will then be unresistible. 

The how is revealed in practical plans for fortification, military deployment, and 
provisioning of troops, plans laid out in the closing pages of the book. 

As immediate propaganda, the Discovery did not succeed. It was twenty years 
later that Raleigh was able to return to South America, and then it was on 
the final, disastrous expedition that precipitated his execution. But its long-term 
effect in stimulating interest in the possibilities, and the romance, of the New 
World was immense. Among its abundant literary progeny, the works it 
influenced include Shakespeare's The Tempest and Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, 12 not 
to mention Tarzan of the Apes. It continues to attract readers for the best of 
all reasons: it is genuinely interesting to read. 

I mentioned that all of Raleigh's prose writings had practical purpose and 
intent to persuade. How does this apply to The History of the World, whose 
title implies, at the least, a broad subject and a general approach? It does apply, 
for two reasons. Soon after Raleigh was imprisoned by King James in 1603, 
he began to perceive that his main hope for release and restoration to prominence 
lay in the young Prince Henry, who often visited Raleigh in the Tower and 
who, in modern psychological terms, had selected Raleigh as a mentor or father 
surrogate, a most attractive alternative to his own effeminate and neglectful father, 
the King. 13 It was for Prince Henry that The History of the World was written. 
When Henry died unexpectedly in 1612, Raleigh gave up the project, for Raleigh 
had intended to use the book as a means of molding and shaping the young 
heir to the throne in the concepts of enlightened sovereignty. This enlightenment 
would of course lead to Raleigh's release; but, beyond that, Raleigh hoped, 
through analysis of successes and failures among the rulers of the past, and 
by advice through historical example in the practical, political, and scientific 
spheres, to do in actuality what Shakespeare did Actively with the Prince Hal 
of his second tetralogy of history plays — to produce that Renaissance ideal of 
the perfect prince. 

A second purpose had its roots in Raleigh's understandable bitterness toward 
King James. In the preface, especially, but also in the work at large, Raleigh 
develops a perspective by which James could be embarrassed if not instructed. 

Raleigh as a Man of Letters 177 

This perspective stresses the vanity of human pomp, the eternally fading glory 
of the kingdoms of the earth, and, especially, the principle that no monarch 
is above the law of God and none can expect to evade His justice. James was 
embarrassed: he remarked that Raleigh had been "too saucy in the censuring 
of princes," and ordered that Sir Walter's name and portrait be removed from 
all issues before further distribution. (Raleigh's triumph was, again, in the long 
run; except for the Bible itself, The History of the World was Oliver Cromwell's 
favorite book, and Cromwell's coreligionists, acting on the principle that no 
monarch was above the law of God, did unto a Stuart what a Stuart had done 
unto Raleigh.) 14 

Raleigh's dual purposes help account for the dual and in many ways contradictory 
approach to history evident in his book. The larger framework, and the one 
stressed in the preface, is the idea of Providential history, the medieval view 
formulated by Saint Augustine, that history is a record of God's will, that God 
intervenes in history to punish and reward the actions of human kings, either 
by direct action or by punishments deferred to later generations of the same 
line. God is the first cause in a history that ultimately conforms, in complex 
ways, to a plan laid down at the Creation and extending to Judgment Day. 
Second causes — human psychology, motivation, and behavior— are, in the purely 
Providential scheme, interesting only as examples of man's successes and failures 
at conforming to God's will. 

But on the other hand, Raleigh was deeply interested in the newer theories 
of the so-called "politic" historians such as Machiavelli, Jean Bodin, and Francis 
Bacon, who concentrated on second causes, divorced history from theology, 
and studied it for practical, administrative lessons, believing, as they generally 
did, that man functions best as a political animal when unencumbered by an 
overactive sense of piety. 15 

Raleigh moves among, rather than assimilates, divergent approaches, and it 
is easy enough to complain about his lack of consistency. For example, as H.A. 
Kelly has pointed out, Raleigh generally maintains that God punishes kings 
by dealing harshly with their descendants, but in one theological digression he 
asserts that the dead have no knowledge of what happens on earth. How, then 
are the dead kings punished by the fates of their descendants? 16 But if Raleigh's 
approach is not consistent, his tone is: it is the somber, elegiac tone of those 
poems on mutability and time. Raleigh doubts that man can learn much from 
history, anyway; man's pride and his boneheadedness condemn him to repeat 
the errors of his forebears. The conclusion to his book, written after Prince 
Henry's death, extols the one great teacher whom no one refutes or ignores: 

We may add to that which hath been already said; That the Kings and 
Princes of the world have always laid before them, the actions, but not 
the ends, of those great Ones which preceded them. They are always 
transported with the glory of the one, but they never mind the misery 

178 Raleigh and Quinn 

of the other, till they find the experience in themselves. They neglect 
the advice of God, while they enjoy life, or hope it; but they follow 
the counsel of Death, upon his first approach. It is he that puts into 
man all the wisdom of the world, without speaking a word. . . . 

O eloquent, just and mighty Death! whom none could advise, thou 
hast persuaded; that none hath dared, thou hast done; and whom all 
the world hath flattered, thou only hath cast out of the world and 
despised: thou hast drawn together all the far stretched greatness, all 
the pride, cruelty, and ambition of man, and covered it all over with 
these two narrow words, Hie jacet. 

Raleigh met the great instructor on 29 October 1618 with dignity and composure 
under two strokes of the axe. 


*Jerry Mills was introduced by Stephen B. Baxter as follows: "Jerry Leith Mills was born 
in Burlington and took his B.A. at Chapel Hill in 1960 before going on to Harvard for graduate 
study. He joined the faculty of the Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1965. A 
brilliant communicator, he has won two teaching awards and is currently Bowman and Gordon 
Gray professor of English. Outside the classroom he is equally skilled in his role as a Southern 
story-teller. His many publications have for the most part concentrated on Spenser, but there 
has been one excursus on Herbert, and his most recent book bears the title Sir Walter Ralegh: 
A Reference Guide. 

"Dr. Mills was corresponding editor, 1970-74, and is now associate editor of the Spenser 
Newsletter, and since 1965 he has been associated with Studies in Philology, of which he has been 
editor for seven years. He has held a variety of administrative positions in the university, including 
secretary and vice-chairman of the Division of Humanities. His subject today is 'Raleigh as 
a Man of Letters.'" 

! Frank Wilson Cheney Hersey, "Sir Walter Ralegh as a Man of Letters," in Proceedings of 
the State Literary and Historical Association of North Carolina, 25 (1918): 42-54. 

2 Pierre Lefranc, Sir Walter Ralegh, ecrivain: Loeuvre et les idees. Quebec: Presses de l'Universite 
Laval, 1968. 

3 I have surveyed the recent writings on Raleigh, to many of which this paper owes a general 
debt, in my two bibliographical studies, "Recent Studies in Ralegh," English Literary Renaissance, 
15 (1985): 225-44, and Sir Walter Ralegh: A Reference Guide (Boston: GK. Hall & Co., 1986). 

4 Poems quoted in the text are from the edition of Agnes Latham, The Poems of Sir Walter 
Ralegh (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1962). 

5 The phrase is that of A. D. Cousins, "Ralegh's A Vision upon this Conceipt of The Faery 
Queene,'" Explicator, 41 (1983): 14-16. 

6 Raleigh's poems to and about Queen Elizabeth are printed and discussed at length by Walter 
Oakeshott, The Queen and the Poet (London: Faber and Faber, 1960). 

7 Leonard Tennenhouse, "Sir Walter Ralegh and the Literature of Clientage," in Patronage 
in the Renaissance, edited by Guy Fitch Lytle and Stephen Orgel (Princeton: Princeton Univer- 
sity Press, 1981), pp. 235-58. 

8 Henry David Thoreau, Sir Walter Ralegh, edited by Henry Aiken Metcalf (Boston: Biblio- 
phile Society, 1905). 

Raleigh as a Man of Letters 179 

'Peter Ure, "The Poetry of Sir Walter Ralegh," Review of English Literature, 1 (1961): no. 
3, 19-29. On this poem see also Cousins as cited above. 

10 Margaret Irwin, That Great Lucifer: A Portrait of Sir Walter Ralegh (New York: Harcourt, 
Brace, and World, 1960). 

"Quotations of Raleigh's prose are from the edition of Gerald Hammond, Sir Walter Ralegh: 
Selected Writings (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1984). 

12 See Uwe Boker, "Sir Walter Ralegh, Daniel Defoe und die Namengebung in Aphra Behns 
Oroonoko" Anglia, 90 (1972): 92-104. 

13 See J.W. Williamson, The Myth of the Conqueror: Prince Henry Stuart. A Study of Seventeenth 
Century Personation (New York: AMS Press, 1978). 

14 Christopher Hill, Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 
1964), pp. 131-224. 

15 On these issues see F.J. Levy, Tudor Historical Thought (San Marino, Calif.: Huntington 
Library, 1967), and John Racin, Sir Walter Ralegh as Historian: An Analysis of "The History of 
the World" (Salzburg, Austria: Institute fur englische Sprache und Literatur, 1974). 

16 H.A. Kelly, Divine Providence in the England of Shakespeare's Histories (Cambridge, Mass.: 
Harvard University Press, 1970). 

Closing of the Conference 

The conference was officially ended after a discussion period on Saturday- 
afternoon. H. G. Jones, chairman of the conference, called attention to these 
lines from John Bain, Jr., Tobacco in Song and Story (New York: A. Gray and 
Company, 1896): 

SIR WALTER RALEIGH! name of worth, 

How sweet for thee to know 
King James, who never smoked on earth, 

Is smoking down below. 

The North Caroliniana Gallery in Wilson Library was opened for the first time dur- 
ing the Raleigh Conference and featured selections from the Sir Walter Raleigh Col- 
lection, including the collotypes of the John White drawings. 

|| Q IE Bjfl 

A continuation of the exhibition of documents and artifacts from the Sir Walter Raleigh 
Collection. The door at right in lower photo leads into the Sir Walter Raleigh Rooms, 
paneled and furnished with period materials. 


Professor Joyce Youings presents to Curator H. G. Jones a pitcher featuring Raleigh 
motifs and made by potter Harry Juniper of Devon. At bottom, former UNC chan- 
cellor N. Ferebee Taylor views a model of a Dutch galleon. 


Among the participants in the Raleigh Conference were William P. Cumming, noted 
authority on Southern maps, and his wife Betty. At bottom is R. Neil Fulghum of 
the North Carolina Collection who prepared the special exhibition. 


Proceedings of a Banquet 

in honor of 

David Beers Quinn 

at the 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 

27 March 1987 

Preliminary Remarks and Presentations 

H. G. Jones 

Master of Ceremonies 

For the benefit of our guests from overseas, I should explain that the absence 
of an invocation before dinner results from the tendency of our American courts 
to declare unconstitutional any favorable — though not, strangely enough, 
Mttfavorable — mention of the Almighty at functions carrying the imprimatur 
of a governmental agency such as the University of North Carolina. This double 
standard of our Orwellian legal minds, however, has not yet forbidden us from 
drawing upon other sources of inspiration, so I begin this affair by reading from 
the scripture according to Sir Walter Raleigh: "Whosoever shall follow truth 
too near the heels, it may haply strike out his teeth." 

To emphasize the theme of this evening, let me repeat that verse: "Whosoever 
shall follow truth too near the heels, it may haply strike out his teeth." 

Now, such a profound proverb may not impress some at this head table, but 
those of us with natural teeth find solace in anticipating an evening bereft of 
our usual Rankean obligation to the truth. After all, we have listened throughout 
the day to scholarly papers, and we deserve the escape provided by an evening 
of fiction. 

The story line of tonight's novel is rather simple: Members of the Sir Walter 
Raleigh cult, holding a two-day conference in a university town and with nothing 
to do the night between, provide ourselves a bit of diversion by putting on 
display one of our members. The object of our attention is a member who 
has been longest associated with the courtier, who has done most to keep his 
memory alive, who has written and talked most about him, and who has traveled 
farthest and most often to the site of Raleigh's colonies, always accompanied 
by a little ball of energy who serves as his prompter, critic, researcher, indexer, 
and driver. For testimonial, we turn to a local dean who, having been his former 
student, has no reason whatever to be concerned about Rankean loyalty to the 
man who gave her so much grief. Finally, to heighten the fictional character 
of the evening, we have printed up a little certificate, which will be presented 
to him with the appearance of all pomp and seriousness. 

Mercifully, however, we will be permitted to eat our dinner first. You may 
proceed to visit with your table mates and dine on, appropriately, Scallopini 
of Veal Elizabeth. We have been assured by the chef that, though the meal honors 
Elizabeth I, the veal was actually grown during the reign of Elizabeth II. 

[Dinner followed.] 

188 Raleigh and Quinn 

Now that you have, we hope, enjoyed your dinner and your table mates, 
I must put on another face and tell you that in reality we are here tonight for 
a serious purpose. Our focus is on David Beers Quinn, the man to whom I 
turned, as first chairman of America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee, 
to bring international credibility to what otherwise might have become an exercise 
in provincial chauvinism. I am convinced that it was in this very building, on 
a snowy weekend early in 1980, that credibility came to the commemoration, 
for at that time David and Alison Quinn, after a softening up process at 
professional gatherings such as the Sir Francis Drake Quadricentennial in California 
and the Organization of American Historians in New York, and through 
correspondence, became full partners with us. Not only did David agree to the 
republication of his Virginia Voyages from Hakluyt (under the new title The First 
Colonists: Documents on the Planting of the First English Settlements in North America, 
1584-1590); he also committed himself to writing the centerpiece of a distinguished 
publications series, Set Fair for Roanoke: Voyages and Colonies, 1584-1606. And, 
of course, subsequently he wrote The Lost Colonists: Their Fortune and Probable 
Fate. Perhaps as important as his literary productions was David's influence in 
our enlistment of other British scholars like Paul Hulton, who produced America 
1585: The Complete Drawings of John White; Helen Wallis, who sponsored the 
great British Library exhibition in London, Raleigh, and New York, and who, 
before she was assured that my intentions were honorable, sensed that I was 
"pursuing" her at the Drake Quadricentennial in California; and Joyce Youings, 
who wrote Ralegh's Country; The South West of England in the Reign of Queen 
Elizabeth I, and who was my gracious hostess during the Raleigh in Exeter 
Conference in 1985. No wonder, then, I gladly joined Karen Kupperman and 
Thad Tate three months ago in reading a paper on David Beers Quinn in Chicago 
as he was given the rare distinction of honorary membership in the American 
Historical Association. 

But before we turn the spotlight on David Quinn, we want to remember 
three other friends from Britain who have become our associates and friends. 
The North Caroliniana Society demands service, not attention, and it seeks to 
express the appreciation of our fellow citizens to those who, with no thought 
of compensation or reward, share in promoting knowledge and appreciation 
of our state's heritage. We gladly do that tonight. 

For the first of our recognitions, we turn to one of the three incorporators 
of the North Caroliniana Society a dozen years ago, our first president, and 
now our vice-president, who, in the face of publishers' deadlines for two textbooks 
on North Carolina history, the third volume of his monumental Dictionary of 
North Carolina Biography, a revision of Paradise Preserved, and only his wife Virginia 
knows how many other projects, always has time to recognize others who 
contribute to our common mission. 

If Bill Powell is one of our first three members, Lindsay C. Warren, Jr., is 

Preliminary Remarks 


our newest, and we are glad to announce his acceptance of election to the North 
Caroliniana Society within the past month. My first association with Lindsay 
Warren, Jr., came when I was director of the State Department of Archives 
and History and he was a state senator and member of the powerful Advisory 
Budget Commission. History has not since had a triumvirate of friends in high 
places to match senators Warren, Thomas J. White, and Ralph J. Scott, who 
invariably gave us courteous hearings and almost as consistently voted generous 
appropriations for our programs. It was his appreciation of history and the 
memory of his father's role in stimulating interest in the Roanoke colonies that 
led America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee to urge the governor 
in 1980 to consider Senator Warren for a vacant seat on the committee; and 
when it became painfully evident that I could not continue to devote the necessary 
time as committee chairman, we all urged his appointment to the chair, and 
Governor Hunt complied. The result has been a tasteful, dignified commemoration 
with an educational emphasis of which all North Carolinians can be proud. 
I reserve for myself, however, the pleasure of presenting a certificate of 
appreciation to one of our friends from Great Britain. In all probability we would 
never have heard of David Beers Quinn except for two people. One was Sir 
Walter Raleigh, and we had hoped to have with us tonight a genuine Raleigh, 
but Dorothy W Raleigh of Tunbridge Wells found it impossible to come to 
the States at this time. The other is a Scotswoman who helped save David from 
oblivion, for Alison Moffat Robertson Quinn has for a half century been more 
than a wife; she has been the other half of a remarkable professional couple, 
sharing his life and his career, always as a productive scholar in her own right. 
Alison, they're going to talk mostly about David tonight, but I want you always 
to be able to say, "I got mine first." [The certificate was accepted by Alison Quinn.] 

Alison Moffat Robertson Quinn, wife and collaborator of David Quinn, accepts cer- 
tificate of appreciation from H. G. Jones. 


Raleigh and Quinn 

Lindsay C. Warren, Jr. 

Chairman, America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee 

In 1983, John Neville, Richardson Preyer, and I went to England to make 
plans for the April 1984 commemorative ceremonies in Plymouth. As you will 
recall, over two hundred North Carolinians journeyed to Devon and London, 
headed by then Governor Hunt, to commemorate the four hundredth anniversary 
of the departure of the first of the Roanoke voyages. While in London, we 
had occasion to visit Helen Wallis at the British Library to talk with her about 
the exhibition "Raleigh & Roanoke," which was to make its London debut 
while the North Carolinians were there. It was my first introduction to Dr. 
Wallis, and I remember the occasion vividly, for while we were there she did 
us the honor of bringing out for a private showing all of the famous John White 
watercolor drawings owned by the British Museum. It was a sight to behold. 
With security guards watching our every move, we gazed upon this remarkable 
collection for the first time. Fourteen of these paintings were later to come to 
North Carolina in January 1985 with the "Raleigh & Roanoke" exhibition. 
I want again to thank Dr. Wallis for that exciting opportunity. Now that she 
is with us on this occasion, I want to thank her also for participating in this 
conference and for the many other things she has done to contribute to the 
success of America's Four Hundredth Anniversary. And now I have the honor 
to present to Dr. Wallis this special certificate as a small token of North Carolina's 
appreciation for her role in the quadricentennial commemoration. [The certificate 
was accepted by Helen Wallis.] 

Helen Wallis accepts certificate from Lindsay C. Warren, Jr. for her contributions 
to the quadricentennial. 

Preliminary Remarks 


William S. Powell 

Emeritus Professor of History, UNC-CH 

Professor Joyce Youings has virtually become North Carolina's chief booster 
in the West Country of England. As professor of history at the University of 
Exeter, she teaches English social history, but she has also become an authority 
on Elizabethan times, particularly with respect to Sir Walter Raleigh and his 
New World interests. She has often visited in North Carolina, and in her home 
district of Devon and Cornwall she has greeted numerous Tar Heels and shown 
them interesting places with Carolina associations. 

Dr. Youings is a native of north Devon, and for the observance of the four 
hundredth anniversary of the Roanoke voyages she contributed one of the volumes 
in our series of publications. Entitled Ralegh's Country: The South West of England 
in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I, it placed Sir Walter Raleigh in his native setting 
and characterized the people with whom he associated. 

Professor Youings also planned and directed a two-day conference in May 
1985 entitled "Raleigh in Exeter." The papers read on that occasion were published 
under her editorship by the University of Exeter Press, adding extensively to 
our understanding of the role played by Raleigh and by England in the early 
history of America. 

Because of her scholarly research and publications and in gratitude for her 
continuing interest in the early history of North Carolina, the North Caroliniana 
Society is pleased to present this Certificate of Appreciation to Professor Joyce 
A. Youings. [The certificate was accepted by Dr. Youings.] 

William S. Powell presents certificate to Joyce Youings for her work in connection 
with the four hundredth anniversary. 

Tribute to David Beers Quinn 

Gillian T. Cell* 

The relationship between a graduate student and an adviser is a very special 
and often a very complex one. The adviser can take on the role of the parent 
who is all powerful; the student the role of the child who has — sometimes 
painfully— to break away. Other times directors are so indifferent that one wonders 
whether they would recognize their students if they met them on the street. 
To me it is above all the relationship that David Quinn has with his students, 
and with the students of others whom he decides to "adopt," that best illustrates 
his extraordinary qualities both as a scholar and as a person. 

I first met David in 1957 when he came to the University of Liverpool as 
Andrew Geddes and John Rankin professor of modern history and head of the 
Department of Modern History. Prior to that he had graduated with first class 
honours from the Queen's University at Belfast and done his graduate work 
at King's College, London, under the renowned A. P. Newton, Rhodes professor 
of imperial history. Newton, editor of the Cambridge History of the British Empire, 
was enough of an imperialist himself to wonder whether anyone schooled in 
Ireland could really be educated, and to insist that David take some undergraduate 
classes just to be sure. His doubts, I imagine, were soon put to rest, for after 
only two years David had completed his dissertation on "Early Tudor Rule in 
Ireland." In 1934 he took his first faculty position at University College, 
Southampton. There and throughout all the the years that have followed, David 
pursued his two linked interests —Tudor Ireland and the discovery and exploration 
of the New World — and began to explore the extent to which the English 
experience in Ireland would influence their later involvement in North America. 
That insight developed in David's work has, of course, become orthodoxy and 
a starting point for the work of many others. There, too, David met and married 
Alison Moffat Robertson, a Scot with an M. A. from the University of Edinburgh 
who was teaching in Southampton. In October of this year they will mark 
their fiftieth anniversary. But of that remarkable partnership more will need 
to be said later. 

In 1939 David returned to Northern Ireland to teach Irish history at the Queen's 
University of Belfast. While spending many nights on duty as the casualty officer 
for South Belfast, which was of course heavily bombed, (and at least one convivial 
night with Professor Flynn, father of Errol Flynn, sheltering under a car with 
a bottle that had fortuitously survived when the window of a liquor store was 
blown out), David served as secretary of the Ulster Society for Historical Studies, 
as a member of the Irish Historical Society and the Irish Committee of Historical 


Raleigh and Quinn 

Gillian T. Cell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and General College at UNC- 
CH, gave the main address at the banquet honoring David Beers Quinn. 

Sciences, and was elected to the Royal Irish Academy. And during the years 
in Belfast the Hakluyt Society published his two-volume edition, The Voyages 
and Colonising Enterprises of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. His connection with the Hakluyt 
Society, begun in 1937, has continued with terms as vice-president and since 
1982 as president. 

Continuing his exploration of the Celtic fringe, in 1944 David moved to 
the University College of Swansea, a campus of the University of Wales, as 
professor and head of department. He remained there for thirteen years, including 
four years as dean of the Faculty of Arts. In 1948 he paid his first visit to the 
United States, based at the Institute of Early American History and Culture 
in Williamsburg, but coming down to Chapel Hill and to the Roanoke site — 
for by this time he was at work on The Roanoke Voyages, which the Hakluyt 
Society published in 1955. Those two volumes were described by the formidable 
English geographer E.G.R. Taylor as a fine work but "too bloody historical" 
and by the equally redoubtable Samuel Eliot Morison as a "monument to 
scholarship. Every possible document from every likely source is included, the 
notes on ethnology, botany, and the English background are informing and 

Tribute to David Beers Quinn 195 

voluminous, and (most unusual for an historian) Professor Quinn twice visited 
and examined the area described in the narratives." Praise from the admiral is 
praise indeed, though he was less kind to David's later theories about pre-Cabot 
voyages, asserting that they put "Quinn as a dialectitian in a class with the 
Cortesao brothers." 

In 1957 David left Swansea for what many people insist is the true capital 
of Wales, the city of Liverpool and its university. He remained there for the 
next nineteen years, until his so-called retirement in 1976. At Liverpool he was 
heavily involved in the expansion of the university and the building of the History 
Department which needed to be pulled together after some rather difficult years. 
Nevertheless the visits to the United States became more frequent (in 1963-64 
after thirty years of teaching, he actually got the first research leave of his career), 
and conference papers and lectures were delivered as close at hand as Paris and 
as far away as New Zealand. Above all, the years of research, of vacation time 
regularly spent in the British Museum, the Public Record Office, and libraries 
and archives in Britain, the U.S. and continental Europe, began to bear fruit 
in an increasing volume of publications — many, many articles, the book The 
Elizabethans and the Irish, and the exquisite two-volume edition with Paul Hulton 
of The American Drawings of John White, which was published jointly by the 
British Museum and the University of North Carolina Press. A specially bound 
copy of those two volumes was presented to President Lyndon Johnson for the 
White House Library. 

When David and Alison came to Liverpool, I was in the middle of my 
undergraduate degree. As students we were, of course, curious about this new 
head of department and mildly worried about how it would change things. 
I took a course from him in the history of the British constitution, read the 
required gobbets, wrote my required essays, did my required share of grumbling. 
But for my final year I had to choose a special subject — the area in which I 
would write my honors thesis. Somewhat sceptically I allowed myself to be 
persuaded by a friend that I should not do American history as I had always 
intended, but that we should take a chance on this new man and take his special 
subject on the discovery and exploration of North America. That did it! For 
someone who had been wandering through a degree, unsure of purpose, unsure 
of the future, it was a revelation. It was fun; it was hard work— very hard work; 
it was a fascinating mix of history, geography, cartography, ethnography, art, 
biology; but more than anything, it was my first real exposure to a scholar 
at work, totally engaged, totally involved. We sat in David's office and read 
the sources (always the sources) — Columbus, Cabot, Cartier, Champlain, De 
Soto, Gilbert, Raleigh, John Smith. We quickly learned to distinguish the excited 
"Yes, yes, yes" that greeted our more perceptive moments from the sceptical 
"well, well, well" that suggested we were just a little off the wall. Over Christmas 
vacation we were told we were all going to London; there we were personally 

196 Raleigh and Quinn 

introduced by David to the mysteries of the British Library and the Public Record 
Office and launched on the research for our theses. We were taken to see the 
originals of the White drawings; we were taken for coffee and introduced to 
the best of the inexpensive restaurants near the museum (there were some in 
those days). Above all we were taken seriously. 

This, of course, goes back to my opening point about David and his students. 
I stayed on at Liverpool to do my Ph.D. with him — there was no point to 
going anywhere else — and from the beginning he put opportunities in my way. 
When, out of the blue, he was contacted about an unused collection of documents 
on the first Newfoundland colony, he responded that he was too busy to do 
anything with them himself, but he had this graduate student. . . . Those 
documents became the foundation of my dissertation and later publications. 
Through David came my contact with the Hakluyt Society, with the Dictionary 
of Canadian Biography and the University of Toronto Press, which would later 
ask for the manuscript of my dissertation. Even, you could say, through David 
came my husband and my reason for being in Chapel Hill, for David encouraged 
me to apply for a fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research where, 
following his example, I joined the seminar of the then Rhodes professor of 
imperial history, Gerald Graham. In that seminar I met my husband who teaches 
at Duke. David was one of the very few people in England in 1962 who had 
ever heard of Duke. "Yes," he said, "that's where my cousin Walter went at 
the age of fifteen before he went some place else to get an education." That 
story, I quickly learned, went down far better in Chapel Hill than in Durham. 

When I first came to this country it was David who introduced me to 
Theodore Rabb; that introduction led to my giving a paper at the American 
Historical Association and helped convince the department here that I was 
respectable enough to be offered a one-year job, which they did in 1965. This 
is mentoring in the best sense of that now over-used word. His help, support, 
and friendship, as well as his intelligence and his knowledge, have been given 
generously to students and young colleagues from the beginning of his career 
to the present. And not insignificant to me is the fact that so many of David's 
successful students have been women. 

David retired in 1976 and promptly became busier than ever. The list of 
appointments, publications, travels, and honors is exhausting simply to read. 
Suffice it to say that it includes teaching at St. Mary's College, Maryland, and 
pioneering work at the archaeological site there; an appointment at the University 
of Michigan at Ann Arbor; a fellowship at the National Humanities Center; 
conference papers around the world; four honorary degrees, including one from 
the University of North Carolina for which I had the honour and pleasure to 
present him; and publications such as Set Fair for Roanoke and The First Colonists. 
In 1984 he received the signal honour of being elected an honorary fellow of 
the British Academy; most recently in 1986 he was elected an honorary member 

Tribute to David Beers Quinn 197 

of the American Historical Association and, in his own word "survived" a session 
in Chicago on "The Life and Work of David Beers Quinn." As a Fulbright 
40th Anniversay Distinguished Fellow he lectured early this year in California, 
Florida, Tennessee, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. His plans for research and 
publication stretch into the 1990s. So much for retirement. 

In the later part of David's career, as their three children grew up, Alison 
was more and more able to travel with him. Because David does not drive (for 
which pedestrians, other drivers, dogs, cats, and all living creatures should be 
profoundly grateful), Alison has driven him not only around Britain and Ireland, 
but from one end of North America to another. I recall their arrival in Durham 
in 1964, in a huge and ancient Oldsmobile which Alison had driven from the 
John Carter Brown to the Huntington and back again to the east coast. How 
she saw over the wheel I never quite knew. Increasingly they have worked together, 
and the publications that bear both names continue to appear. As an indexer 
not just of David's works but of such volumes as The Complete Works of Captain 
John Smith, Alison has gained an international reputation, the medal of the British 
Index Society— and the biggest collection of shoe boxes in the world. The Quinns 
are a formidable combination. 

They are also great friends and great company. While the Quinns were at 
the National Humanities Center in 1983, it was a particular pleasure to see 
my own children, one of whom is named for David, listen with fascination 
to his talk about his work and to his stories, probable and improbable. The 
importance that David has had in my life — to a great extent to which I am 
what I am and where I am because of him — makes this opportunity to pay 
tribute to him one of the most enjoyable tasks I have ever been asked to perform. 


*Dean Cell was introduced as follows by H. G. Jones: "If this conference carries the tone 
of a Celebration of the British, it is not entirely accidental. After all, the subject of our discussion 
these two days makes it so. Beyond that, our conference reaffirms the ties between us and our 
Mother Country, a characterization not popular today but one that still accurately describes 
the language, traditions, laws, and institutions of the United States. Nor is it accidental that 
the dean of our College of Arts and Sciences and General College speaks with a non-Southern 
accent, for she too is a native of Great Britain. She came here as a history scholar, rising to 
chairman of our Department of History after holding several other positions of influence, some 
of them listed in the printed program of the conference. 

"Gillian T. Cell is, I believe, unique in this room on several counts. The one that matters 
is that she received her doctorate under David Beers Quinn. Knowing the propensity of students 
to parody their professors, we thought she could add a light touch to our respite from our 
study of Sir Walter Raleigh. But, alas, we learn belatedly that she may be so beholden to him 
that she dare not tell all about the real David Beers Quinn, that gruffy old picky-picky professor, 
for who ever heard of such a bond that would not require the student to go back to Liverpool 
for her doctoral examination but instead would bring the professor to Chapel Hill? We await 
her tribute of truth — or fiction." 

Presentation of Certificate of Appreciation 
to David Beers Quinn 

Archie K. Davis* 

To follow in the wake of Dean Cell's magnificent tribute to Dr. David Beers 
Quinn leaves me in an unenviable if not impossible position. For what more 
can one say about the life and works of this remarkable scholar whose accom- 
plishments will forever shed a very special light on the Elizabethan era, and 
particularly on the four-hundredth anniversary of the first English settlement 
in America. 

While the reading of his curriculum vitae leaves one almost breathless, it 
does confirm to our complete satisfaction that Professor Quinn's professional 
pursuits did bring him and his lovely wife Alison to North Carolina on 
many occasions, and that we may now be so bold as to claim them as fellow 
North Carolinians. In this sense, the use of the word "claim" is intended to 
convey a kindly attitude and one of affectionate goodwill, not one of demand 
or possessiveness. 

This latter qualification of the word "claim" does apply, however, to a situation 
which the professor has undoubtedly observed. In the sixteenth century, well 
prior to the reign of Charles II, the use of the term Elizabethan "Virginia" 
applied to most of what we now know as North America. Neither Dr. Quinn 
nor others have ever questioned the fact that the first English settlement in America 
was on Roanoke Island in what would later become the proprietary colony of 
North Carolina, that the first permanent English settlement in America was founded 
at Jamestown on 26 April 1607, in what would later become the royal Colony 
of Virginia, and that the first child born of English parents in America was 
born on Roanoke Island. Surely, enough glory for all, but the commonwealth's 
penchant for primacy in all matters historical has never been stilled. To this day, 
there are those who answer our modest claim with this rhetorical flourish: "If 
the first English child to be born in America was born in North Carolina, why, 
then, did you name her Virginia Dare?" 

If this comes as a matter of surprise to Professor Quinn, he should know 
that within recent years the work of North Carolina's Four Hundredth 
Anniversary Committee has occasioned untold anguish just north of the 36 degree, 
30 minute parallel. Although Jamestown's four-hundredth anniversary was over 
twenty years away, the commonwealth could not let North Carolina go 
unchallenged. As we were building the Elizabeth II, a representation of a sixteenth- 
century vessel, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation was busily fabricating a 
reproduction of the Godspeed for a planned reenactment of the voyage to Virginia 

200 Raleigh and Quinn 

in 1607. This ship was afloat and making its way to our coastal waters in the 
spring of 1985, obviously not for the purpose of reenacting an event, whose 
four-hundredth anniversary will not take place until the year 2007, but presumably 
to divert world attention from this "vale of humility." 

Happily this has not been the case. Just the reverse has been true, and to 
none are we more indebted than to our distinguished friend and scholarly patron, 
David Beers Quinn, whose active role as intermediary with other Elizabethan 
scholars, whose advice and support over the years, as well as the publication 
of his book entitled, Set Fair for Roanoke: Voyages and Colonies, 1584-1606, by 
the University of North Carolina Press in 1985, have added immeasurably to 
the historical credibility and world importance of North Carolina's claim. 

But alas, our commonwealth friends have never been known to miss an 
opportunity for historical advantage. Obviously, Professor, you must be high 
on their list. I can even now picture a book by you entitled Set Fair for Jamestown. 
If that be the case, North Carolina will not be found wanting. Most assuredly, 
the Elizabeth II, bearing special greetings from Roanoke Island to her younger 
sister colony in Virginia, will heave to at Jamestown on 26 April 2007. 

Dr. Quinn, we bask in your reflected glory this evening and shall be forever 
grateful for your friendship and support. On behalf of your many friends and 
admirers, it is my high privilege to present to you the North Caroliniana Society's 
Certificate of Appreciation, which reads, 

The North Caroliniana Society, 

in recognition of services to 

North Carolina during the commemoration 

of the Roanoke Voyages of 1584-1587, 

is pleased to present this 

Certificate of Appreciation 


David Beers Quinn 

27 March 1987 

Presentation of Certificate 



*In introducing the president of the North Caroliniana Society, H. G. Jones said: "In the 
business world, Archie K. Davis is known as the only individual to have served as president 
of both the American Bankers Association and the United States Chamber of Commerce. In 
the cultural world he is known for his involvement in preservation activities, particularly as 
a leader in the historic Moravian town of Old Salem. In the academic world he is known for 
his role in bringing to North Carolina the National Humanities Center, whose headquarters 
building bears his name. In the literary world he is known for his graceful publications, including 
the book, The Boy Colonel: Life and Times of Henry K. (Harry) Burgwyn, soon to be followed 
by a study of North Carolina's international relations during the American Civil War. To me, 
he is known as the successful businessman and former senator who confided to me in Raleigh 
in 1972 that he had always wanted — even after forty years — to return to graduate school for 
an advanced degree in history, neither of us suspecting that we would meet again in Chapel 
Hill, I as his faculty advisor, he as my distinguished student. Never has a professor learned 
so much from his student; furthermore, and it is for me a signal honor to be working with 
him in his capacity as president of the North Caroliniana Society— an organization that embodies 
the interests, ideals, morals, and mission of Archie K. Davis who, burdened by all the recognitions 
a state can bestow upon a native son, remains a private in the Army of our Heritage." 

In his best professorial posture, David Beers Quinn (left) describes his early expedi- 
tions to North Carolina's Outer Banks, then poses with his wife and colleague, Alison. 


David Beers Quinn accepts certificate of appreciation from Archie K. Davis, presi- 
dent of the North Caroliniana Society, then (bottom) responds to remarks by his former 
student, Gillian T. Cell. 

North Carolina: My First Contacts, 1948-1959 

David B. Quinn* 

North Carolina has been very kind to me for a very long time, and to Alison 
for a shorter but still considerable period. How many times have we been here 
together? How many of the people who are here have we known, some of 
them for a very long time, when we were here before? And how many of them 
are close and dear friends? Were we not involved quite early in the preparations 
for the 400th Anniversary and did we not contribute something, if only a little, 
to their fulfillment? The six months we spent at the Humanities Research Center 
remain with us as an exciting, unique, experience in our lives. The honor of 
an honorary degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill remains 
one of my proudest memories. But for this occasion I will try to leave the recollec- 
tion of these more recent occasions and hark back to the first three visits I made, 
on my own, without Alison, in 1948, 1957, and 1959, all of which, but especially 
the first, have made a deep imprint on my mind and were reflected in so many 
ways in my subsequent lectures and writings. 

While working on a small book, Sir Walter Raleigh and the British Empire, 
published in 1947, I had become deeply interested in the documentation of the 
first colonizing expeditions to what is now North Carolina and the splendid 
drawings of John White, which brought so much of the setting of the first 
colony to light. I decided to attempt to bring together all the materials, old 
and new, on what I was to name "the Roanoke voyages," and to explain as 
many aspects of them as could be traced. I was fortunately able, in the summer 
of 1948, with the aid of a grant from the Leverhulme Fellowships Committee, 
to make my first visit to North America, and to base myself at the Institute 
of Early American History and Culture, then recently established at Williamsburg 
under the directorship of the distinguished historian, Carl Bridenbaugh, with 
whom I had been in correspondence. Poring over the charts of the Carolina 
Outer Banks and sounds, the idea developed that it might be possible to mount 
a little expedition to the area. Carl was anxious to see it and so was a graduate 
student of his, John Gordon, who had later a career in the United States Navy 
and in education. Through his family's connections it was somehow arranged 
with Admiral J. F. Farley, who commanded the United States Coast Guard, 
that the three of us could spend a week in the care of the stations at that time 
liberally distributed along the coast, since there was no other way in which 
the then isolated and inaccessible region could be seen, unless with resources 
which were quite beyond our reach. 

Accordingly, on 21 July 1948, the three of us set out from Williamsburg, 
through Norfolk, and across the area in which many of the Lost Colonists 

204 Raleigh and Quinn 

eventually met their end at Powhatan's hands, to the Outer Banks, our objective 
being Oregon Inlet Coast Guard Station, which was to be our base. Before 
we reached our destination I learned that I was financing an illegal operation, 
since there was a heavy suitcase of Virginia Gentleman on board, destined to 
ease our way from station to station, for the private use of the station chiefs, 
since the Coast Guard was then, and probably still is, as "dry" as Dare County 
then was. Perhaps this cache did serve us well, perhaps it had no influence 
whatsoever, as in any event the Coast Guard treated us with every possible 
consideration, and successive chiefs of station were intrigued to find that we 
were earnest students and not boondoggling fishermen, despatched at the whim 
of some senator or other. 

I cannot say that any of us paid much attention to the upper part of the 
Outer Banks as we would have seen some fine forest remnants on the sound 
side of the banks, notably Kill Devil Woods, or remarked on the relatively few 
summer houses that lined a small part of the shore. Once settled, we had first 
to be reoriented to our new situation, which the men at Oregon Inlet proceeded 
to do almost at once, bringing the USC&GS charts to life with stories of the 
Outer Banks in times of storm and stress. 

Our first expedition with them was by picket boat some little way offshore. 
We first coasted south of Oregon Inlet to see what must have looked very much 
like the Port Ferdinando named by Amadas and Barlowe in 1584, though not 
precisely at the same place. The Outer Banks, from the seaward approaches, 
were uniformly bare, nothing but beaches and, as we turned north again, the 
Coast Guard Station and then the scattered summer houses and beach hotel 
of Nags Head. We saw little change in the shoreline as we worked our way 
almost as far as Duck, none of the inlets of 1584-1590 then being open. Beyond 
that there was a restricted area used for naval gun practice, so we had to return 
without reaching Cape Henry. The stark bareness of the beaches was what struck 
us most: the luxuriant vegetation, which in the 1580s was evidently visible from 
the sea, had disappeared. As we passed through several shoals of fish the crew 
of the picket boat teased us lightly, saying that if we had been fishermen we 
might have had something to show for our journey. 

Our next day's mission was to sail up Roanoke Sound, there then being 
no causeway to Roanoke Island from the Outer Banks. We sailed up the east 
shore of Roanoke Island, heavily wooded and with few houses visible except 
at Manteo. This was an experience I then appreciated strongly as for the first 
time I was able to get some slight impression of the island and of the waters 
where so much activity had taken place during those eventful years in the 1580s. 
We crossed the wide expanse of Albemarle Sound, and I remembered Ralph 
Lane's first description of it in September 1585, and its striking appearance on 
John White's map. We sailed up between wooded banks to Elizabeth City, small, 
compact, with attractive white houses and a number of small fishing vessels. 

My First Contacts 


Once we arrived there we were shown the eighty-five-foot cutter, with her sleek 
lines, the pride of the Coast Guard, in which we were to journey south the 
next day, though we were to stay at a small hotel overnight. 

We duly went on board the cutter next morning and were welcomed by 
the officer in command— names now escape me except that almost every second 
Coast Guardsman we met was a local man and bore the name of Midgett. Easing 
slowly out of the estuary, we soon saw the northeast tip of Roanoke Island 
ahead, near which I knew the fort and settlement of 1585-86 had been. We 
then cruised, with increasing speed, down Croatan Sound, long cleared of the 

In July 1948, David B. Quinn was photographed during his first exploration of the 
Outer Banks aboard the Coast Guard Cutter 83493. Photos furnished by Professor Quinn. 

obstructive islets which White's map had shown. Beyond that we were soon 
losing contact with the land, moving out into the wide stretches of Pamlico 
Sound, and with land receding rapidly out of sight. This gave me, for the first 
time, some sympathy with Verrazzano, who in 1524 had mistaken the Sound 
for the Pacific Ocean! It also gave me some sense of the range which the surveyors 
of the first colony, Thomas Harriot and John White, had traversed in then- 
mapping and charting of the area, using ship's boats and at times their pinnace 
to cover what, for that time, were very considerable distances. The cutter made 
considerable speed across the sound, and there was enough motion to make 
some of us queasy when we had lunch below deck. However, I kept on the 
lookout as much as I could as we made our passage to Ocracoke, which took 
the greater part of the day. Eventually, the island came within view, its woods 
and houses standing out on the horizon. We drew in to the shore and soon 
entered the Silver Lake, the fine lagoon, on which the Coast Guard station stood. 
As I walked out along the eastern shore near the Coast Guard Station with 
one of the men, I was soon put to a test. He stooped down, picked up a shellfish, 
flicked it open with his knife and offered it to me— my first clam — and as I 
swallowed it without obvious discomfort, I evidently passed. In the evening 

206 Raleigh and Quinn 

the chief, Carl, and I got down to study the charts — it appeared that the 
Wococon of 1584 might not have been the present Ocracoke but part of it 
only, joined to what is now Portsmouth Island. Meantime, it being Saturday, 
John Gordon had gone to a square dance in the town. But early next day we 
were on the move up the track northwards through the island. Vegetation was 
soon left behind: there was nothing but sand on either side, though the dunes 
gave us some shelter from the east. At Hatteras Inlet, a picket boat was waiting 
for us, and we crossed the inlet. It was well south of any that had been noted 
by White in 1585. Once on Hatteras Island we took to the beaches. We were 
travelling in a Coast Guard beach buggy, which swept along the shore at low 
tide with a pleasantly swaying motion as the wave troughs in the sand dictated. 
On the beach could be seen wrecks in all stages of decay, increasingly so as 
we went north— wooden remnants, substantial wooden vessels not entirely broken 
up, and very many steel Liberty Ships, victims of the U-Boat blitz of late 1942. 
I took some photographs and am now sorry I did not take more. 

Eventually, some vegetation began to appear on the sound side and ultimately 
we reached Buxton, a fishing settlement then, but one retaining some substantial 
bushes and small trees, giving some impression of the earlier tree covering. This 
was very near where Manteo's village on Croatoan (as the island was then) had 
been between 1584 and 1590. Not long after we came to the knee bend in 
the Outer Banks, which marked the promontory of Cape Hatteras extending 
to the east. At Ocracoke there had been a chance, if we could have waited another 
day or so, of going on a cutter that was due to inspect the buoys off Cape 
Hatteras. It would have been a rough enough trip, and I was sorry not to have 
made it, but there was not enough time. But now standing guard on land was 
the Hatteras Lighthouse, still working and beaming its warning light down 
the dangerous shoals off the cape. It was a landmark that could be seen for 
many miles, even though it had already been threatened by erosion in the 1930s. 
Beyond it to the north there had been in 1585 the inlet, Chacandepeco, which 
marked the southern limit of the island of Croatamung of 1585, but had now 
become merely Pea Island. Here we left the beach and took the track up the 
island. At one point, we came to a marsh which was all that marked the place 
where an inlet had broken through some years before but had by then closed. 
I was wearing rather wide-legged baggy shorts (very British!) so that the 
mosquitoes that attacked us from the swamp had a fine meal, and I had very 
sore thighs for a few days. Finally we came to Oregon Inlet. Here another Coast 
Guard boat took us back to our base at Oregon Inlet Coast Guard station. 
The overland journey from Ocracoke to Oregon Inlet, which is now an easy 
run on a good road, had been something of an adventure. It had, above all, 
impressed me with the extent of the Banks and shown the great erosion (up 
to a mile or more) which had taken place since 1585, as well as the loss 
of vegetation. 

My First Contacts 


Cape Hatteras Lighthouse appeared safe from the sea more than thirty years ago. At 
right, tire tracks nearby revealed the isolation of Hatteras Island in the early '50s. 
Photos courtesy National Park Service. 

The final stage of our program was a visit to Roanoke Island. We were taken 
by picket boat to Manteo, then a very small town indeed, and I was able to 
set foot at last on Roanoke Island. We drove up to the almost uninhabited 
northeast end of the island and entered the area which the National Park Service 
had taken over— the Fort Raleigh site (the name, by the way, is their own). 
The excavations were virtually completed, and the bare sides of the reconstructed 
fort enclosure were in place. This, incidentally, was one of the very first authentic 
reconstructions to be made in North America, since the material for its banks 
had been taken from the fill in the original ditch, though, of course, sixteenth 
century illustrations were needed to ascertain the location of the firing step and 
other details. Unfortunately, the archaeologist, J. C. Harrington, universally 
known as "Pinky," was not at the site just then, but we were shown conscien- 
tiously round the site by the Park Service staff. We were also able to see the 
artefacts gleaned from the excavations — not as many as were expected— but the 
site had been combed over the years by curio hunters. However, the fort perimeter 
gave some idea of how small the colony had been (if indeed it was the sole 
defensive work of Lane's colony, which has been questioned). But for me it 
was a link with the documents and the people who were mentioned in them 
which, with the artefacts they had used, did much to enhance my understanding 
of the nature of the First Colony. We did not, however, gain any considerable 
knowledge of the Native Americans whom White had painted. We could also 
look over the sound across which the pinnaces and boats of the successive 
expeditions had plied, and could thus see in imagination, the vessels that White 
had so carefully depicted on his map. 

208 Raleigh and Quinn 

This was the end of the line: we were conveyed back to Manteo and to Oregon 
Inlet and picked up Carl's car and set out on an uneventful return to Williamsburg. 
The whole experience was one that made a vivid impression on me at the time 
and one that I have not forgotten, and for which I am forever grateful to the 
United States Coast Guard. It enriched my understanding of how the first English 
explorers and colonists had chosen Roanoke Island as their base and how they 
had used the Outer Banks as their barrier from observation by sea, even if they 
had lost so much of their vegetation and had been shorn off by wind and tide 
over the 360 years or so that had passed. I cannot express how glad I am to 
have seen the Outer Banks and Roanoke Island also before the modern 
developments of the last forty years have taken place. Now there is little left 
for the imagination to work on. 

Later that summer, fortified by work in Washington, during which I learned 
something, if not a great deal, about the Indians of coastal North Carolina and 
about Spanish concern at English activities on the coast north of Florida, I was 
able to return, by train and bus, to North Carolina, but this time, in the first 
place, to Raleigh. There I naturally stayed in the Sir Walter Hotel. This was 
a great chunk of a building, my room incredibly hot and stale with the tobacco 
smoke of years. My first impression of the main streets was not too favorable. 
Large buildings, stores and public buildings, were often islands in unbuilt lots 
or used car stands. Only when I penetrated the square in which the Capitol 
stood was there grace and elegance. The State Library contained many periodicals, 
some of which proved useful, but it was not specialized enough for me. The 
State Museum of Natural History was a very different proposition. There the 
director, Harry T Davis, took me in hand and worked over with me, in a 
preliminary way, the identification of fauna and flora in Harriot's Briefe and true 
report, told me something of the geology of the coastal plain and had even news 
of a recent discovery of Indian artefacts on the Chowan River. I made my way 
next to the Department of Archives and History, already something of a museum 
as well as an archives. Christopher Crittenden (never called anything but Chris) 
did what he could for me and had to confess he had no documents which could 
help. There I met for the first time his young assistant, William S. Powell. 
An immense mural showed De Bry's version of Pomeioc, in color, and with 
a large mound on which the temple sat, to which I took some cautious exception. 
Chris took me under his wing and brought me, with his family, to a showing 
of "Gone with the Wind," without seeing which, he assured me, I would never 
understand the South. As I was at that time a devotee of French art films, I 
considered it wildly melodramatic, but something of it remained with me 
afterwards. Chris then directed my footsteps to Chapel Hill. Arriving there by 
bus, I went to lodge at the Carolina Inn, then a much more modest institution 
than it is now. However, when I got to know some graduate students — almost 
the only students left during the vacation — they assured me the $5 a night I 

My First Contacts 209 

was paying was outrageous and that I could have had better lodgings for $2 
or $3 elsewhere. One of these young men had some money— most lived a very 
spartan life in dormitories — and a car and a girl friend. Before long a little group 
of us got together in the evenings fortified by beer and occasionally spirits brought 
by him from "wet" Durham to dry-as-dry Chapel Hill; I had already lived through 
a beerless ride down the Outer Banks and a dry one, as Coke disagreed with 
me very positively. 

At Chapel Hill I was taken in hand by the formidable and very able Mary 
Thornton, who had built the North Carolina Collection in the Wilson Library. 
She showed me everything in print — history, myth, and fantasy— that had been 
written about the first colonists. Indeed she also gave me a file of cuttings, 
which told me something about the recent excavations on Roanoke Island but, 
more specifically, illustrated a casting counter, a German one of the mid-sixteenth 
century (a number were found at Fort Raleigh), which came from an Indian 
site (it never produced anything else except a little pottery) near Buxton and 
was quite likely the site of Manteo's village. This was an interesting and evocative 
find. From there she passed me on to the librarian, Charles Rush, who took 
a liking to me and went out of his way to help. First of all he set up a meeting 
at the Botany Department with Professor Henry Roland Totten, with whom 
I found the famous emeritus professor, W. C. Coker. They spent practically 
the whole day with me going over all the clues to flora contained in the Roanoke 
narratives. To hear them discussing where they had seen this or that plant or 
tree was fascinating. Finally, they took me to see the new arboretum, a standing 
memorial to W. C. Coker (as is the later Biology Department building named 
for him). This day's work was one of the most valuable I had so far had in 
clearing up one aspect of the annotation which I contemplated. Then Charles 
Rush suggested that we should make a visit to Davidson, where William P. 
Cumming, professor of English at Davidson College, had developed a special 
knowledge of early maps of North Carolina. Charles, his wife Lionne (whom 
I am amazed to hear is celebrating her 103rd birthday in 1987), and I drove 
to have lunch with the Cummings. This was my first contact with Bill and 
Betty Cumming, who have remained firm friends ever since, and occasional 
collaborators as well. At lunch Bill apologised for serving us fruit juice, explaining 
that it might not be a good thing if a professor at the so strictly dry college 
served anything so subversive as wine. What Bill did for me was to take me 
through his fine collection of photocopies of maps from the earliest times, revealing 
not only how the coastline had changed (the Cape Kenrick of John White's 
map of 1586 having been eliminated by the eighteenth century and was marked 
only as Wimble Shoals), but also how man's perception had altered between 
the mid-seventeenth century and the more or less correct charts of the early 
nineteenth century. From that point the accuracy of the White-Harriot map 
of 1585-1586 was brought home to me, and I was obliged to study its making 
much more closely than hitherto. 

210 Raleigh and Quinn 

Back in Chapel Hill I was able to meet the doyen of Southern history, 
J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, velvet-jacketed and serene (I only learned later of 
his extraordinary work in building the Southern Historical Collection), and I 
was able to talk directly about the early voyages with Professor Hugh Lefler. 
I may mention one other rather strange experience — nothing to do with the 
Roanoke voyages. Chris Crittenden had shown me the version of the 1663 charter 
which had then been offered for sale to the Archives, and I expressed some 
views on it. He had committed himself to talk about it to the Chamber of 
Commerce at Chapel Hill and wished me to come along and say something 
too. He arrived early and took me to meet R.D.W. Connor, who had written 
wisely on the early colonies before becoming first Archivist of the United States. 
He assured me that as fellow Irishmen we must have a drink together— his 
own Irish connections I later learned went back to the eighteenth century. He 
brought me a glass of the wine of the country, bourbon, which had, he assured 
me, plenty of branch water in it. However, there was much less water than 
whiskey and, though I got through the lunch and remember Chris speaking, 
I was well under the influence myself by this time and never to this day knew 
what I said about the charter, whether it made sense or nonsense. Chris was 
too kind to tell me, so I feared the worst. 

Chapel Hill left me with the warmest of warm impressions. The university 
was most attractive— about 4,000 to 5,000 strong at that time. Its buildings 
formed a fine homogenous campus. The endless kindness I met with and the 
assistance I found there helped me along my way with the greatest of ease. I 
left with the impression that I might, after all, be able to achieve my aim of 
making something new out of the traditional documentation of the voyages. 

Back in England I struggled with what became, with enormous help from 
Alison, The Roanoke Voyages (1955), helped also by R. A. Skelton, the then 
superintendent of the Map Room in the British Museum and secretary-editor 
of the Hakluyt Society. I had been corresponding vigorously with Pinky 
Harrington since 1948, and he generously let me use his then unpublished reports 
on Fort Raleigh, while I was able to meet him and his family when he was 
in England investigating glass smelting before his remarkable reconstruction of 
the 1608 glassworks at Jamestown. Roanoke Voyages was well received, and I 
had a characteristic laconic note from Miss Thornton in which she said she liked 
the book but didn't really know why she did so. After it was published, Bill 
and Virginia Powell came to England in 1956 to pursue his ambitious attempt 
to identify as many of the first colonists as he could, so we became friends, 
as he worked incredibly rapidly through published documents and some manu- 
scripts in the short time he had to attempt such a large task. The result was 
that, besides correspondence with Bill Cumming, Charles Rush, and John Shirley, 
whom I had come to know earlier in London and had moved to the state, I 
was able to continue contact with North Carolina and especially with Chapel Hill. 

My First Contacts 211 

It was 1957 before I had a chance to come to the United States again. By 
this time Pinky Harrington, now living at Richmond where I was able to visit 
him and his family, had become an administrator. He had been put in charge 
of the National Park Service's development of its sites in the southeast. He was 
especially concerned with Jamestown, and he took me round the newly installed 
tour route of the site and other improvements as a preliminary to a drive down 
the Carolina Banks to see what progress was being made there. This time we 
were able to drive down Route 158, and I was surprised to see so many of 
the Coast Guard stations abandoned (replaced as they were by a few highly 
manned stations, linked to the Loran radar and directional system which was 
then developed). We viewed the Wright Monument, by then complete, and 
crossed the new causeway to Roanoke Island. We stayed comfortably at what 
later came to be called the Elizabethan Inn but was somewhat more modest 
in size and name at that time. Then came the highlight of the tour, the full 
inspection of Fort Raleigh and of the restored fort perimeter, which was by 
now covered in grass and looked very effective. Having read the literature on 
its excavation, I was greatly impressed with the skill and effectiveness of the 
reconstruction and glad to have the recovered artefacts explained to me in detail. 
Pinky was pleased with what was being done: the Park Service personnel there 
were very cooperative and obviously thought the world of Pinky. He took the 
opportunity to introduce me to Horace Dough, who had helped to preserve 
the site and was the repository of much of the folklore of the district. Pinky's 
friendship with the local people was a factor of importance in making them 
accept the intrusion of the federal Park Service into their hitherto closed 
community. In the evening we sat through a performance of Paul Green's "Lost 
Colony," which was colorful and effective even if in places anachronistic. But 
we had a hard time keeping mosquitoes at bay. 

We then drove down the Outer Banks. There was by now a remarkable road 
down to Oregon Inlet and a bridge across it. From Kitty Hawk southwards 
I had been able to see that development along the shore was going ahead, but 
I also saw on the shoreward side the Nags Head Woods, which gave me some 
impression of what the Outer Banks as a whole had looked like in 1584. By 
way of Pea Island we were able to drive rapidly down to Hatteras Inlet, where 
there was now a ferry, and to get quite quickly to Ocracoke, where the Park 
Service was busy establishing itself. On the way two things were noticeable. 
First, many, indeed most, of the wrecks had gone, the steel ones I suppose for 
scrap metal, some of the old wooden ones decayed or sandcovered. The other 
novel thing was the lighthouse at Hatteras. It was now out of service and had 
been handed over to the Park Service. Pinky had the idea it could hold a small 
museum, and I agreed. We made some plans about this, and I later sent over 
photographs of the Ralph Lane letters of 1585 which eventually formed part 
of the display. At Ocracoke we were able to rest overnight and walk around 


Raleigh and Quinn 

Silver Lake and the village of Ocracoke (top) provided a placid scene in the 1950s. 
Pictured at bottom was one of the many shipwrecks inspected by Quinn on his 
peregrinations along the Outer Banks. Photos courtesy National Park Service. 

My First Contacts 213 

the settlement, which was expanding but was still very attractive and under 
Park Service protection. Then we drove north once more. This time, with Roanoke 
Voyages behind me, I was able to review what I had said there and deepen my 
understanding of what had taken place in the sixteenth century. 

This was not quite all I was able to do in North Carolina in 1957. I came 
down by rail to Raleigh and called on Chris Crittenden and his expanding empire 
and was able to see John and Jerry Shirley at their home in Raleigh before getting 
on the bus to Chapel Hill. There I was able to talk to Bill Powell, who was 
by then well established in the North Carolina Collection, having moved there 
in 1951. Miss Thornton was leaving an increasing amount of the planning to 
him, as she was herself about to retire. He showed me the Sir Walter Raleigh 
Rooms, plans for which Charles Rush and Mary Thornton discussed with me 
on my visit to the library nine years earlier. I was able chiefly to concern myself 
with social activities, but I was not without business commitments too. In 
England, Paul Hulton, of the British Museum's Prints and Drawings Department, 
and I were engaged in planning the production of a full collection of the John 
White drawings. This was far from clearly in prospect at the time, but I was 
able to talk to Lambert Davis at the UNC Press about it — and also his able 
lieutenant, Porter Cowles — and from that were to spring initiatives that helped 
to make the plan possible. Lambert Davis's intervention in obtaining a subsidy 
from the Old Dominion Foundation was, I believe, to be important, while in 
the end the University of North Carolina Press was to join with the British 
Museum in the publication and to arrange for the distribution of the 300 of 
the 600 copies in that very limited edition when they were finally published 
in 1964. This in turn led on to a reception in the White House for the presentation 
of a specially bound copy at which representatives of the university, the press, 
the Powells, the Leflers, and the Quinns were all to be present and to tie together 
many of the strings of earlier associations. Lady Bird Johnson and her daughters 
went through the pictures with me, and she picked out as her favorite the Sea 
Turtle — one of the finest drawings of all. 

But to get back to 1957. Charles Rush was by now retired, and he and Lionne 
were kinder to me than ever, but his health was failing. The last outing I had 
with him was to the newly opened planetarium, when his weakness was already 
evident, and he was, much to my regret, to die shortly after my return to England. 
I was in touch too with the Cummings but only by phone and correspondence. 
Bill Cumming had by then brought out the first edition of his The Southeast 
in Early Maps, and I could congratulate him on this, a landmark in cartographic 
scholarship in the East. I was still unable to get any help with the coastal Indians 
whom White had drawn, as Joffre Coe was still involved in non-Carolinian 
studies (my efforts to reach him in 1948 had failed). 

My third visit, the last I will attempt to say anything about now, was in 
1959. This time I was at the Folger Library and working on the John White 

214 Raleigh and Quinn 

drawings and having been successful at long last in finding an anthropologist 
who knew enough about the Indians the colonists met to be able to help greatly 
with the analysis of the drawings. It is to him, William C. Sturtevant of the 
Department of Anthropology in the Smithsonian Institution, that I and Paul 
Hulton, my collaborator, owe much for our understanding of what the drawings 
portray. (Curiously the three of us are in 1987 collaborating again on a project 
which has a marginal association with the colonies, namely with Drake's call 
in June 1586 which led the first colony to return to England.) But to get back 
to North Carolina— I had a call from David Stick, to whom Pinky Harrington 
had introduced me in 1957, asking if I would come down to take part in a 
discussion on the Lost Colony on the stage before the Paul Green show. I was 
to fly to Norfolk where David would meet me, and which I duly did, the plane 
being late and David impatient that we would not get to Roanoke Island in 
time, even though I reckoned there was no need to hurry. We did in fact do 
so with plenty of time to spare and met with the rest of the panel — Chris 
Crittenden and Bill Powell— who were to be on stage with David Stick and 
myself. Quite abruptly David requested us to get our pieces together for an 
"interview session." This turned out to be a barrage of television lights and 
cameras tucked away out of our sight. It then became clear why David had 
been in such a rush to get me from Norfolk as he had laid this on to fit in 
before the stage show. It was the first time I had been subjected to TV in any 
shape or form. We were politely asked to say our pieces in two or three minutes 
each. Chris Crittenden and Bill Powell were very calm about the whole thing, 
but I was rather nervous, though I survived (I did not, however, see whatever 
was shown of the interview). David Stick wound up very coolly and we dispersed. 
But by now it was time for us to do our official piece on stage. There was 
a large audience, and the four of us said our pieces, mine being a very tentative 
version of my opinion that the majority of the Lost Colonists had survived 
for some time with the Chesapeake tribe. Of course it convinced no one, though 
I was to return to the matter later and remain reasonably certain that I am 
right. We had time only for a few discussion points to be raised, when we 
were shooed off the stage for the real performance to begin. It was on this 
occasion that I saw the Paul Green show for the second time, but I don't remember 
anything specific about it except that it had improved appreciably. David Stick 
had booked me in at the fine, old, summer hotel at Nags Head, and I was 
supposed to go off to Norfolk by bus in the morning, but I was too exhausted, 
and, attracted by a day on the beach, I booked myself in for another night so 
that I could enjoy a day lying on the beach and beachcombing. I was fortunate 
enough to find a virtually complete carapace of a spiny box-fish looking just 
like the one White had drawn in 1585. I managed to clean it up a bit, wrapped 
it well and eventually cured it. I got the bus next morning and returned to 
Norfolk and Washington. 

My First Contacts 215 

My early connections with North Carolina were, therefore, very happy ones 
indeed. Almost everyone there— at Raleigh, Chapel Hill (especially), and at 
Roanoke Island— were almost invariably helpful. I am particularly glad that two 
people, Bill Cumming and Bill Powell, have remained close friends and, indeed, 
associates since those early days — and that I have been able for a long time after 
to cooperate closely with John Shirley. To them have been added many more 
in recent times, not least among them H. G. Jones, who took over the North 
Carolina Collection when Bill Powell succeeded Hugh Lefler as professor of 
North Carolina history at Chapel Hill. He has been our prop and stay in North 
Carolina for so many years as he has also been for so many others. 

Those, then, are some memories of my early contacts with North Carolina 
and North Carolinians. Increasingly, as the numbers of my visits and friends 
have grown, I have come to feel at home among you, and no visit has been 
more enjoyable than the present one, during which you have honored Alison 
and me for roles that we gladly played in commemorating Sir Walter Raleigh's 
efforts to plant English colonies in North America. That we have joined hands 
across the Atlantic for this commemoration proves that Sir Walter's efforts were 
not entirely in vain. 


Papers Read at a Session Titled 

"The Life and Work of David Beers Quinn" 

at a Meeting of the 

American Historical Association, 

Chicago, 29 December 1986 

Presides Remarh 

Douglas E. Leach* 

Presiding at this unusual session, my firm intention is to keep my own role 
close to an absolute minimum, so that we may have adequate time for all the 
good others. Like the little boy on the Fourth of July— or Guy Fawkes Day 
for that matter — I shall merely light the fuse and wait to see what happens. 
I predict that we shall not be disappointed. 

We have assembled to hear and honor one of the world's great living historians, 
Emeritus Professor David Beers Quinn of the University of Liverpool. Many 
of you are also aware that Professor Quinn's wife Alison, a scholar in her own 
right, has contributed substantially to the lasting value of the immense corpus 
of publications for which her husband is so widely known and respected. So 
it is that we are doubly honored by Alison's presence this afternoon. I cannot 
let the occasion pass without remembering that it was Alison and David Quinn 
who were among the foremost in helping me and my young family integrate 
into English life and English ways in 1959 when I came to David's department 
at Liverpool as Fulbright Lecturer. We have been good friends ever since. 

As all of you do know, David Quinn has been recognized and honored by 
many eminent institutions and organizations during his highly productive career 
extending over more than half a century. On this occasion we celebrate all of 
those well-earned honors plus two more, newly gained. First, honorary membership 
in the American Historical Association, a rare tribute reserved for especially 
distinguished foreign historians. Here David Quinn follows in the tracks of 
Leopold Von P^anke, among others. Second, David Quinn has been designated 
a Fulbright Fortieth Anniversary Distinguished Fellow. As such, in celebration 
of the fortieth anniversary of that magnificent program to which so many of 
us have reason to be grateful, he will undertake a three-week speaking tour from 
California to New England, under the sponsorship of the United States 
Information Agency and the Board of Foreign Scholarships. Our session this 
afternoon will serve as the launching pad for that tour. The itinerary is both 
extensive and complex. May the various airlines involved be on their best behavior! 

So, let us proceed as follows. Three scholars who have been so fortunate as 
to work with David and Alison Quinn, and thereby savor not only the richness 
of their many contributions but also their personal graciousness and warmth, 
will come to the podium in succession to offer brief perceptions and tributes. 
These persons, in order of appearance, will be H. G. Jones, curator of the North 
Carolina Collection and adjunct professor of history at the University of North 
Carolina; Karen Ordahl Kupperman, professor of history at the University of 
Connecticut; and Thad W. Tate, director of the Institute of Early American 

220 Raleigh and Quinn 

History and Culture at Williamsburg and William E. Pullen professor of history 
at the College of William and Mary. Then Lois Green Carr, historian, Historic 
St. Mary's City and Maryland State Archives, will introduce Professor Quinn. 
Accordingly, I now ask these four colleagues to perform their pleasant duties 
in succession, without further interruption by me. 


*Douglas E. Leach, who presided at the session titled "The Life and Work of David Beers 
Quinn" at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in Chicago on 29 December 
1987, is professor of history emeritus at Vanderbilt University. His most recent book is Now 
Hear This: The Memoir of a Junior Naval Officer in the Great Pacific War. 

Bringing Credibility to a Commemoration: 

David Beers Quinn and 
the Quadricentennial of the Roanoke Voyages 

H. G.Jones* 

For those of us accustomed for a third of a century to the confrontational 
traditions of AHA sessions, there is a bit of awkwardness in participating in a 
session whose description contains the words "distinguished" and "tributes." The 
three of us chosen to comment on David Beers Quinn, therefore, must wend 
our way between our Rankean obligation to tell the truth and our personal 
inclination to be civil — particularly with the subject, very much alive and with 
acute hearing— sitting in state before us. 

In this quandary, I share with my fellow panelists a quotation nearly four centuries 
old: "Whosoever shall follow truth too near the heels, it may haply strike out 
his teeth." That caution is all the more appropriate today because had it not been 
for its author, Walter Raleigh, we probably would not be holding this session; 
in fact, we might never have heard of David Beers Quinn. It is of course possible 
that his wife and associate, Alison, might have saved him from obscurity, but 
we shall never know. 

Now, David Quinn's career certainly has not been limited to interest in Sir 
Walter Raleigh and English exploration and settlement; indeed, one only has 
to scan his impressive bibliography to sense the breadth of his research and writing. 
Still, he himself traces his interest in "early English colonial expansion" back fifty-five 
years to his graduation from the Queen's University of Belfast, and the editors 
of the festshrift The Westward Enterprise ten years ago concluded that "David Quinn's 
contribution to what may be called the prehistory of British North America stands 
out as uniquely important in the historiography of the subject." The eventful 
voyage on the ship Scholar from his initial publication on his native Ireland 
to his mastery of the story of early American settlement is gracefully and 
modestly told in the preface to Set Fair for Roanoke, and it will be more explicitly 
described at the International Sir Walter Raleigh Conference in Chapel Hill on 
27-28 March 1987. 

David Quinn's relationship with Walter Raleigh accounts for my relationship 
with David Quinn, and these two relationships helped produce a substantive obser- 
vance of an important episode in British and American history. My remarks are 
mercifully brief because the genesis of the quadricentennial observance is told more 
fully in my article in the September 1985 issue of Carolina Comments, published 
by the North Carolina Divison of Archives and History. 

222 Raleigh and Quinn 

Immortality tends to crown success and spurn failure, so the very fact that 
Raleigh's North American colonies failed while later ones at Jamestown and 
Plymouth succeeded helps explain the scant attention given in the national literature 
to the activities on Roanoke Island in the 1580s. The voyages, however, have 
not gone unheralded in "Ould Virginia," as a seventeenth-century cartographer 
called North Carolina, for we are reminded of them through the name of our 
capital city and a lengthy list of towns, counties, lakes, streets, ships, organizations, 
businesses, and commercial products, not to mention America's pioneer outdoor 
symphonic drama, Paul Green's The Lost Colony, performed at the Fort Raleigh 
National Historic Site each summer. 

Consequently, when Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., in 1977 asked me to organize 
and chair America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee (the statute for which 
I had written four years earlier while I was director of the State Department 
of Archives and History), I knew that our first goal must be the legitimation 
of the Roanoke voyages as a subject worthy of serious international study. Not 
being a specialist of the period, I viewed my tasks as chairman to be that of 
stocking the committee with professionals and laypeople knowledgeable of the 
subject and of enlisting the active participation of English and American scholars 
eminent in the field. We had not yet recovered from the subordination of history 
to politics and tacky frivolity during the bicentennial of the American Revolution, 
and state government reorganization had exposed my old department to the political 
patronage system. I was determined, therefore, to conduct a commemoration rather 
than a celebration, based on history rather than politics, directed toward education 
rather than fleeting amusement, emphasizing substance rather than minutae, and 
fostered by specialists of the period being honored. Above all, this was to be 
an international observance, not one hidden behind our own provincial borders. 

That's why I began my courtship with David and Alison Quinn, and through 
them, with other Elizabethan scholars. I had known of Dr. Quinn through my 
predecessors, Christopher Crittenden and William S. Powell, and of course his 
two-volume Roanoke Voyages and other studies of English exploration and 
colonization were standard works in North Carolina history. It was not until 
November 1977, however, that I first met him and Alison on their trip to Raleigh 
to speak to the Roanoke Island Historical Association. From that first restaurant 
conversation mine was a soft-sell approach, but a persistent one, to involve him 
with the four-year observance, 1984-87. 

At the meeting of the Organization of American Historians in New York 
the next April, Professor Quinn began to make suggestions for the quadricentennial. 
In May he formalized in a letter a particularly welcome recommendation, a major 
commemorative volume containing all of the John White drawings of the 1580s, 
supplemented by "the principal original documents." He added, "... a publication 
team consisting of Bill Powell, myself and Paul Hulton could do such a book . . . ," 
and he enclosed an outline. I was elated, and at the Sir Francis Drake quad- 

Bringing Credibility to a Commemoration 223 

ricentennial in California in 1979, we discussed the proposed book during our 
amusing travels to the several places seeking academic endorsement as Drake's 

My elation was premature, for as so often happens when a splendid idea is 
put in the hands of a subcommittee, an entirely different publications program 
was proposed. It eliminated the grand volume and proposed instead the reprinting 
of Quinn's Roanoke Voyages (with additions), the revision of a small collection 
of documents previously published by the Division of Archives and History, and 
an inexpensive (if there be such) edition of the White drawings relating only 
to the Roanoke enterprises. To this Quinn was predictably unenthusiastic, noting 
that the revision of RV, even with the willingness of the Hakluyt Society, would 
be enormously expensive, and that his contract with Oxford University Press, 
whose Virginia Voyages from Hakluyt was still in print, would preclude his 
participation in a competing book. He did, however, say that if Oxford would 
give the Division of Archives and History softcover rights to Virginia Voyages, 
he would prepare a new preface. This was promptly agreed to, and the book 
appeared in 1982 as The First Colonists: Documents on the Planting of the First English 
Settlements in North America, 1584-1590. 

Determined that neither partisanship nor parochialism should characterize the 
quadricentennial, I took what I then thought was a gamble (but of course, I 
know now that it involved little chance): I invited David and Alison Quinn to 
come to Chapel Hill for a two-day series of meetings of America's Four Hundredth 
Anniversary Committee. They participated in the discussions, never proselyting 
but always expressing a "beyond-our-borders" professional view, and did much 
to stem accusations that my emphasis on substantive matters reflected elitism (an 
odd attribution for a boy brought up on a tenant farm). Dr. Quinn's dinner address 
cemented the respect of members, and before David and Alison left the village 
(two days late because of the snow, which Alison says she always brings with 
her), his new offer— to write for the anniversary committee a narrative summarizing 
the lessons learned from four decades of study of the Roanoke venture (a surprise 
to everyone but me)— was accepted. This major contribution appeared from the 
University of North Carolina Press in 1985 as Set Fair for Roanoke: Voyages and 
Colonies, 1584-1606. In the interim, David received an honorary doctorate from 
UNC in 1980, returned to research in the Triangle during his fellowship at the 
National Humanities Center, delivered the Brewster lecture at East Carolina 
University, and generally became a loyal if adopted Tar Heel. In fact, he was 
so much at home that at the inauguration of the four-year festivities on Roanoke 
Island, he and Alison were there to welcome their Princess Anne. There is 
a rumor that the princess asked him, "Why is the American flag flying over 
our island?" 

224 Raleigh and Quinn 

David Quinn's role was not limited to his direct assistance; he opened doors 
for us and enlisted other scholars: Helen Wallis of the British Library, who produced 
the Raleigh & Roanoke exhibition in London, Raleigh, and New York; Paul Hulton 
of the British Museum, who produced a new edition of the complete drawings 
of John White; Joyce Youings of the University of Exeter, who sponsored the 
Raleigh Conference in Devon; and others. A veritable trans-Atlantic coterie was 
formed, with David and Alison Quinn at the center. 

David Quinn's involvement gave me confidence in 1980 that AFHAC would 
be able to withstand the natural tendencies of politicians and promoters to trivialize 
the quadricentennial, and I stepped aside as chairman. Since that time, there have 
been a few activities little related to the subject, but more than any previous 
anniversary observance, this one has emphasized the historical events and personages 
being commemorated. Education, not hoopla, has set the tone. If the Elizabeth 
II, a credible representation of a sixteenth-century sailing vessel, drew the most 
visitors, and if public ceremonies in England and the United States drew more 
television and press coverage, the outstanding British Library exhibition Raleigh 
& Roanoke in England and the United States provided a lasting impression to 
hundreds of thousands. But above all, the real legacy of the quadricentennial will 
be its outstanding series of publications— books like David Quinn's Set Fair for 
Roanoke, Paul Hulton's America 1585: The Complete Drawings of John White, and 
David Stick's Roanoke Island: The Beginnings of English America; booklets such 
as Quinn's The Lost Colonists: Their Fortune and Probable Fate, Helen Hill Miller's 
Passage to America, and Joyce Youing's Ralegh's Country: The South West of England 
in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I; and leaflets on the native Americans, prepared 
by David Stick. In addition, of course, are the fine books on the subject by Karen 
Kupperman, David Durant, and others, produced by commercial presses. About 
eighteen inches of shelf space is required for the new publications dealing directly 
with the Roanoke voyages, and more are on the way. In no small measure, these 
additions to the historical literature of English exploration and American settlement 
have been influenced by David Beers Quinn, who was trotted out every time 
politicians and vendors threatened to divert our attention from history. 

David, I am pleased to join mutual friends as the American Historical Association 
recognizes you for your distinguished career, for it again gives me the opportunity 
to congratulate you on your good judgment in taking as your life's partner that 
little ball of energy and good humor, Alison, and to express my personal appreciation 
to both of you for helping bring credibility to the quadricentennial of the 
Roanoke ventures. If you find yourselves squirming during this afternoon's session, 
remember that someone— perhaps it was Evelyn Walsh — observed that "No good 
deed goes unpunished." 


*H. G. Jones is curator of the North Carolina Collection and adjunct professor of history at 
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

David Quinn as Historian's Historian 

Karen Ordahl Kupperman* 

In his 1637 book the New English Canaan, Thomas Morton described the 
feats of magic performed by Indian shamans. Though English colonists attested 
that they had seen powwows make a piece of ice appear in a bowl of water 
in the middle of the summer, or a fresh green leaf in winter, Morton drew 
the line at one shaman's claim that he could swim a river under water with 
a single breath. Morton said the man fooled the spectators by "casting a mist 
before their eies" so they could not see him as he came up for breath. 1 

As I began my graduate work at Cambridge University, it seemed to me 
that many historians of great reputation are like Morton's shaman; their energies 
and brilliance go into creating a smokescreen of words and theory that make 
it appear they are doing something they in fact cannot or will not do. The 
work of David Quinn came as a revelation to me; rather than attempting to 
dazzle the reader, to cast a mist, he actually invited one behind the scenes to 
see how the magic was performed. In reading his works the novice scholar 
is led step by step as Professor Quinn builds his case through painstaking 
reconstruction, finally allowing us to see and experience what John White and 
Thomas Hariot saw at Roanoke, or Bartholomew Gosnold on Cuttyhunk Island. 

I remember saying to many people at Cambridge that I was reading a book 
(it was Professor Quinn's edition of the Roanoke Voyages) which had a footnote 
that filled more than half a page discussing the possible identification of a small 
red berry one colonist had remarked on. At first that was just a source of 
amusement, but as I read more, I began to derive what is possibly the most 
important lesson I learned in graduate school: everything that the people you 
study cared about should also be the object of your concern. They are trying 
to tell you something if only you are capable of hearing and using the information 
your sources offer. If you dismiss or condemn without following up what the 
historical actors said, you impoverish your own work. The smallest detail may 
be the key to choosing one interpretation of events over another. 

This principle led David Quinn into new approaches before they became 
fashionable. He early on discovered the importance of anthropology and geography 
to historical reconstruction. He did not, as far as I know, read trendy theorists, 
but rather went into the' field and walked over the ground with active practitioners. 
As a novice scholar, I learned from his works the importance of a sense of place; 
Professor Quinn knows not only the topography, but also the soil, weather, 
water patterns, and plants of the areas whose exploration and colonization he 

226 Raleigh and Quinn 

Moreover, having learned as much as he could about his subjects and their 
experiences, David Quinn never sat on his mound of material guarding it against 
all challengers. It is clear to anyone who reads his work that he is constantly 
re-thinking, seeking out new information, looking for further understanding. 
For his latest book on Roanoke, though he had been working on the topic 
for forty years or more, he went over the sites again, conferring with those 
younger scholars who were now working in the region, always open. One index 
of his openness and quest for knowledge is that fact that if you happen to come 
to a colony site or an archaeological dig before or after a Quinn visit, you will 
find everyone who works there in a state of high excitement. People are eager 
to tell him what they have found or their newest theory, knowing they will 
get a respectful hearing, though often they will be told reasons why a new 
idea cannot work. Through such visits, especially his investigation of the area 
where he believes the Lost Colonists lived in peace for two decades after they 
were abandoned, and through fresh archival work, Professor Quinn's new book 
on Roanoke contains much that did not appear in any of his earlier studies 
of the subject. 

The most stunning thing I learned from reading David Quinn was that such 
painstaking reconstruction, important in itself, also sets the stage for imaginative 
leaps of theory. There is no antiquarian's interest in facts for facts' sake here. 
Once you have done the work and know all you can about your subjects' 
experience, then you have the foundation from which you can begin to think 
about what it means. It is this stage of the process that has produced Professor 
Quinn's most hotly debated articles. Of all his intriguing theories probably the 
most controversial is his argument that English fishermen from Bristol discovered 
America in the 1480s and that Columbus knew about their voyage before 1492. 2 

I am happy to be now in the position of introducing new novice historians 
to his books and articles and seeing them take in the combination of hard work 
and audacity that makes Professor Quinn's work so exciting. His lesson for them 
is the same as it was for me: you, too, can be such a historian if you treat your 
sources with respect, including the respect of believing that they know what 
they are saying and mean what they say, if you keep your antennae out so that 
no lead is passed up, and if you genuinely desire to understand. Finally, of course, 
you have to be prepared to think. 

The keynote of Professor Quinn's approach to historical writing is generosity. 
I knew he was a generous man long before I ever met him; all his work is 
kind in the sense that he holds nothing back, never seeks to mystify or dazzle. 
Everything is laid out for the reader, all steps are made accessible. His personal 
generosity to me has been immense, from the fact that he took me seriously 
as a scholar when we first met, even though I was freshly out of graduate school. 
Later when we were writing books on the same subject, and I was thus in 
a minor way a competitor, he answered every question I asked him fully and 

David Quinn as Historian's Historian 227 

frankly, sharing his latest thoughts and evidence with me. 

His gift to all American scholars is more general and less personal. It is 
particularly appropriate that the American Historical Association should honor 
him in this way, because he more than any other scholar has made it possible 
for Americans to work on the history of exploration of early colonization of 
North America. Beginning with the Gilbert Voyages in 1940, David Quinn, often 
in partnership with Alison Quinn, invented a new style of historical editing. 
In this collection for the Hakluyt Society and its successor the Roanoke Voyages, 
published in 1955, the Quinns brought together every document that bore on 
the ventures, combing archives in Spain and throughout England, and wrote 
notes and introductions that allowed all readers to profit from the books at 
their own level. As David Quinn remarked mildly in his recent book Set Fair 
for Roanoke (1985), the two-volume Roanoke Voyages caused "some surprise that 
it ran to just over 1,000 pages" (xix). Their generosity can also be seen in the 
way they have acted to save ventures that might have foundered without their 
help. It was the Quinns who stepped in to finish the editing and index for 
Philip L. Barbour's edition of The Complete Works of Captain fohn Smith after 
Barbour's death. 

It is only when using other collections that one realizes just how much effort 
David and Alison Quinn put into making the material they present accessible 
and understandable, especially in the presentation of a strong narrative line to 
weld the disparate and often confusing documents together. They make sure 
that the reader knows the outlines of what is going on in the venture under 
study at all times and how each document fits into that narrative. The Quinns' 
work, capped by the immensely useful five-volume collection the New American 
World, published in 1979, is literally the fountainhead of all work on American 
colonization in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Not every scholar 
may feel that he or she learned how to be a historian by reading Professor Quinn, 
but no one can work in this field without using their document collections 
constantly and compiling an enormous debt to them. They have made the modern 
field of early colonization and exploration of North America possible; they have 
certainly made it possible for American scholars to have equal access in this field. 
I am grateful to have been invited to participate in this occasion; there is no 
one for whom the honor bestowed today is more appropriate. 


*Karen Ordahl Kupperman is professor of history at the University of Connecticut and a 
specialist in early American history. 

1 Thomas Morton, New English Canaan (1637), in Peter Force (comp.), Tracts and Other Papers, 
Relating Principally to the Origin, Settlement, and Progress of the Colonies in North America, 4 vols. 
(Originally published 1836; reprint Gloucester, Mass.: 1963), II, 25-26. 

2 See his England and the Discovery of America, 1481-1620 (New York: 1974), Chapter 1, "The 
Argument for the English Discovery of America Between 1480 and 1494." 

David Quinn as Historical Editor 

Thad IV. Tate* 

David Quinn begins the foreword to the five-volume documentary collection, 
New American World, which he edited with his wife Alison and his student 
Susan Hillier, with the following one- sentence paragraph: 

The intention in this collection has been to enable the person who 
has a vital interest in the beginnings of European activity in any part 
of North America to build up for himself a picture of how it began, 
how it changed from a discovery of some islands off the supposed shore 
of Asia to the long-continued scraping of the outlines of an endless 
coastline, to the penetration of an apparently limitless interior, to the 
exploitation of its inshore waters for fish and its forest fringes for fur, 
to the tentative assessment of the quality of the land to support European 
life, to the first attempts to plant Europeans on North American soil, 
to the early failures and the first successes, to the beginning of what 
was to become, in spite of the claims of its natural inhabitants, a part 
of the European-speaking, European-living world. 1 

As Professor Quinn remarks in the succeeding paragraph, "This is a long 
sentence"— all 145 words of it, I might add. But is is also a remarkably good 
summary of the thrust of all of Quinn's remarkable body of editorial scholarship. 
Those contributions as historical editor are, of course, but one facet of a varied 
and productive scholarly career. Yet, I think that for a number of reasons it 
is a matter worth singling out for special comment. 

The first reason is that several of Quinn's larger editorial projects, especially 
those pertaining to the voyages of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the Roanoke Colony 
of Sir Walter Ralegh, and the English voyages to New England in the first 
decade of the seventeenth century, stand among the brightest beacons of his 
many accomplishments. The record is the more impressive when we recall that 
the two volumes on Gilbert's enterprises, published in 1940, were the Hakluyt 
Society volumes for 1938 and 1939, nos. 83 and 84 of its second series, while 
the New England volume appeared in 1983 as the one hundred and sixty-first 
volume of the same series. Thus, they frame a career of more than forty years 
duration, not that it appears in the least to be winding down. 2 

If I may, as an outsider, a dabbler at best in the subject of early European 
exploration and discovery, venture a judgment in the matter, it also strikes me 
that this is a field in which the edited and printed documentary record is unusually 
important to students and advanced scholars. The body of manuscripts and early 
printed works on which the field rests is not unlimited, although those sources 
are, in fact, unexpectedly rich because the discovery of the New World stirred 

230 Raleigh and Quinn 

the imagination of educated Europeans of the time. Yet, those sources also call 
for extensive compilation, interpretation, clarification, and annotation to be fully 
accessible to all but the most advanced scholar. Although the history of European 
exploration is a significant harbinger of the modern era, it is, in a sense, 
also a concluding phase of the medieval world. Rather like medieval history- 
it presents an especially acute need for reliable printed and edited texts, and no 
one has supplied them in any greater quantity or with any higher quality than 
David Quinn. 

The three Hakluyt Society editions on Gilbert, Roanoke, and New England 
to which I have already referred, plus his work on the Hakluyt Handbook and 
facsimile editions with introductions of major Richard Hakluyt writings, 
constitute Quinn's major corpus of editorial scholarship on early English 
exploration, but they do not exhaust his contributions. 3 The five-volume New 
American World, from which I quoted a moment ago, occupies what I think 
of as a distinctive niche. The texts are not annotated, although the very process 
of selection and organization of documents and the provision of introductory 
headnotes for a series as comprehensive as this one is in itself a task that demands 
an experienced, knowledgeable scholar. Spanning the whole of New World 
exploration and discovery from medieval antecedents to 1612 and including records 
of the Vikings, French, Spanish, and Dutch as well as the English, the volumes 
display an impressive comprehensiveness. At the same time Quinn and his 
collaborators provide a degree of accessibility to the record for non-scholars that 
admirably fulfills their stated intention. 

Quinn's editorial scholarship likewise embraces a host of briefer publications. 
Some, like the handsome volume of accounts of Virginia voyages from Hakluyt 
that he and Alison Quinn prepared for an Oxford Press series in 1973 and a 
subsequent 1982 reprint, were readers' editions of significant but generally familiar 
texts. 4 In other instances — for example, an edition of The Last Voyage of Thomas 
Cavendish, 1591-1592, and another prepared with Neil M. Cheshire, of two poems 
of Stephen Parmenius, the Hungarian poet who drowned on a Newfoundland 
voyage in 1583 — Quinn produced the first modern editions of less familiar parts 
of the record. 5 

You may also have detected by now a recurring note running through the 
editorial credits of a number of these works. I refer to the frequency with which 
his wife Alison appears as his collaborator in the preparation of a number of 
them, bringing her own skillful eye, enthusiasm, and insights to the scholarly 
enterprises in which the Quinns have shared. I have known them and watched 
them at work too long not to make a point of this collaboration. I especially 
have in mind, from my own personal knowledge, the extent to which the late 
Philip Barbour counted upon their advice in preparing his new edition of the 
writings of Captain John Smith and the significant contribution that both made 
to the final shape of the edition. 6 

David Quinn as Historical Editor 231 

Finally, I should like to return briefly to those major editorial works on Gilbert, 
Roanoke, the Hakluyts, and New England — plus his Virginia contributions — 
that, I think, define the parameters of Quinn's editorial scholarship and also 
inform much of his own historical writing. His contributions are too varied 
to identify exclusively with any single aspect or theme of his subject — he is 
simply the historian and editor of English exploration and discovery. But what 
he does catch particularly well, I think, is an all-important transition that 
he identifies clearly in the foreword to New American World, that is, the 
transition from the discovery of islands and coastline to assessment of the ability 
of the land to sustain European settlement and the first attempts to plant 
such settlements. 

Quinn's particular genius lies, I think, precisely in looking toward this 
significant end result of exploration. Many scholars in the field choose to emphasize 
first discoveries, leaving the momentous shift to European colonization to others. 
Call it permanent settlement, call it colonization, or call it invasion, it is a critical 
transformation, marking a decisive shift in the character of European overseas 
activity. Virtually all of Quinn's editorial works make major contributions to 
our understanding of this transitional process. Richard Hakluyt was its chief 
theorist; some of the first glimmers of the possibility of European settlement 
loom up in Humphrey Gilbert's endeavors; Sir Walter Ralegh's Roanoke 
constitutes a major, if flawed, effort, to effect lasting English colonization; Virginia 
under John Smith's aegis achieved success, however narrowly it escaped failure; 
and, finally, weighing the possibilities for colonization became an increasingly 
dominant purpose of the post-1600 New England voyages that Quinn documents 
in his most recent editorial volume. What in the end is most impressive, then, 
about David Quinn as editor is not simply the quality and quantity of his editorial 
scholarship, but the extent to which that impressive body of work traces a clear, 
coherent line of development and thereby makes a major interpretative contribution 
to his chosen field of study. 


*Thad W. Tate is director of the Institute of Early American History and Culture and William 
E. Pullen professor of history at the College of William and Mary. 

!David B. Quinn (editor), New American World: A Documentary History of North America to 
1612 (New York: 1979; 5 vols.), I, v. 

2 David B. Quinn (editor), The Voyages and Colonising Enterprises of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Hakluyt 
Soc, 2nd ser., nos. 83-84 (London: 1940; 2 vols.); David B. Quinn (editor), The Roanoke Voyages, 
1584-1590 ..., Hakluyt Soc, 2nd ser., no. 104 (London: 1955); David B. and Alison M. 
Quinn (editors), The English New England Voyages, 1602-1608, Hakluyt Soc, 2nd ser., no. 161 
(London: 1983). 

232 Raleigh and Quinn 

3 David B. Quinn (editor), The Hakluyt Handbook, Hakluyt Soc, 2nd ser., nos. 144-145 
(London: 1974: 2 vols.); Richard Hakluyt, The principall navigations, voiages, and discoveries of 
the English nation, edited by David B. Quinn, Hakluyt Soc, ex. ser., no. 39 (Cambridge: 1965; 
2 vols.). 

4 David B. and Alison M. Quinn (editors), Virginia Voyages from Hakluyt (London and 
New York: 1973). 

5 David B. Quinn (editor), The Last Voyage of Thomas Cavendish, 1591-1592 . . . (Chicago: 
1975); David B. Quinn and Neil M. Cheshire (editors), The New Found Land of Stephen 
Parmenius . . . (Toronto: 1972). 

6 Philip L. Barbour (editor), The Complete Works of Captain John Smith (1580-1631) in Three 
Volumes (Chapel Hill: 1986). 

Introduction of David Beers Quinn 

Lois Green Can* 

My predecessors here have outlined David Quinn's contributions as a scholar, 
an editor, a mentor for younger scholars, and a promoter of public interest in 
the history of exploration and colonization via recent celebrations of 400th 
anniversaries. This long career of major accomplishment began in Ireland, where 
he was born and was educated until he began studies at the University of London. 
There he received his Ph.D. in 1934. After teaching for several years at University 
College, Southampton, he returned in 1939 to Ireland to be senior lecturer in 
Irish History at Queens University, Belfast, where he had done his undergraduate 
work. In 1944 he moved on to University College, Swansea, as professor of 
history and head of the department until 1957, when he became Andrew Geddes 
and John Rankin professor of modern history and department head at the 
University of Liverpool. Upon his retirement in 1976 he came to St. Mary's 
College of Maryland to begin a new career as a teacher of American under- 
graduates. Here through 1984 he taught at least one semester of every year but 
two, at the same time carrying on his myriad activities as lecturer, editor, author, 
and adviser. During this period and since have appeared the five-volume New 
American World and the English New England Voyages, 1602-1608, both edited 
in collaboration with Alison Quinn; Early Maryland in a Wider World, a collection 
of essays that began as a lecture series David organized at St. Mary's College; 
his book about the Roanoke colony; and more than a dozen published articles 
and lectures on early discovery and colonization. At the same time he has been 
vice-president and then president of the Hakluyt Society. A more energetic and 
productive retirement can hardly be imagined. 

I came to know David and Alison Quinn through their interest in what 
material artifacts can tell us, whether they be pictures, maps, objects, and structures 
still preserved or archaeological findings. David's work in cooperation with Paul 
Hulton on John White's watercolors is, of course, an outstanding contribution 
of this nature. He has followed and often been consulted on archaeological projects 
up and down the Atlantic Coast from Baffin Island, where Frobisher had planned 
to establish a colony, to Spanish St. Augustine in Florida. This part of his mental 
outlook has been especially important to those of us who have had the opportunity 
to work with him at St. Mary's City, where since 1968 the outdoor history 
museum, now called Historic St. Mary's City, has been excavating Maryland's 
seventeenth-century capital. David's enthusiasm for this work and what it can 
reveal about everyday life on an English seventeenth-century frontier has been 
stimulating and refreshing to all of us involved, historians and archaeologists 
alike. Real conversation between historians and archaeologist-anthropologists is 

234 Raleigh and Quinn 

beginning to enrich vastly our understanding of the past before us. Over his 
scholarly career, David's pioneering interest in archaeological projects has helped 
create such conversation. 

I should like to add a comment on David's participation in historical 
anniversaries — those already discussed for North Carolina and others not touched 
on, such as Maryland's recent celebration of its 350th year. If more historians 
of his calibre would expend their talents on this method of exciting public interest 
in history, our profession in this country might not be in its present doldrums. 
I like to believe that the American Historical Association, in offering David 
Quinn honorary membership, is recognizing not only the value of his scholarship 
but this public-spirited use of it as well. 

And now it is time to let David Quinn speak for himself. 

'Lois Green Carr is historian for Historic St. Mary's City and the Maryland State Archives. 


David Beers Quinn* 

This occasion is the more gratifying to me because I have thought of myself 
very much as a historical work horse, clearing the way through documentary 
tangles for others to follow. This has certainly been both my endeavour and 
to some appreciable extent the result of what I have achieved within my rather 
limited field. But I have probably added something in perspective also to the 
general picture of the European penetration of North America as a whole during 
the early stages of white intervention. Exactly how much only time will tell. 
Whether I have made a more general impact on history, as seen by Americans, 
I am more doubtful. 

It is very difficult to look back over fifty years of teaching and nearly fifty-five 
years of writing to summarize briefly one's career in a meaningful fashion. 

First of all, though, just a little on my education. Brought up in an Irish 
country village (Clara, Kings County) in a one-teacher school (four teachers, 
in fact, successively) from age five to fourteen, I was lucky in my parents who, 
without having had the advantage of higher education, were intelligent and 
well-read. They gave me every incentive they could to develop my intellectual 
curiosity as well as my knowledge, as did my teachers, especially one of them. 
I got a little private teaching too before my family moved to Belfast in 1923, 
where I entered rather late a famous day school and enjoyed the association of 
a number of boys who were to become prominent in later life in many fields. 
There I was well taught, perhaps best in geography, which was my main love 
and in which I would have majored if I could. At Queen's University (1927-31) 
I had the good fortune to be taught history mainly by Professor James Eadie 
Todd, who had a formidable reputation for high standards and who drilled his 
students in them sternly if mercifully. His lectures were polished prose which 
one took down verbatim (not possible in these days), but his interests were 
wide and his instincts for novelty were very sharp. My most stimulating teacher 
was a young lecturer who had come to start the teaching of geography in the 
university. Estyn Evans is still alive and is revered as a man of extraordinary 
wide interests and achievement. He tried to cultivate a broad range of interests 
in his students, introducing me to archaeology and ethnology as well as the 
traditional aspects of his subject. When I got the chance to do graduate work 
I would like to have gone on to do so in geography or anthropology or even 
archaeology, but as this was not possible I went instead to King's College and 
the Institute of Historical Research in London, where my supervisor was 
A. P. Newton, Pvhodes professor of imperial history (a Yale Ph.D., incidentally), 
who had drawn from the British empire and from the United States a remarkable 

236 Raleigh and Quinn 

seminar of talented men and women. Todd had taken a suggestion from something 
Newton wrote— that it would be worth following the careers of men who had 
been involved in projects for colonies both in Ireland and in America— and passed 
it on to me. That was indeed a fruitful starting point. Over the next few years 
I was well grounded in British colonial history, but Newton felt I should tackle 
a straight piece of Irish history, much neglected at the time, for my dissertation. 
Despite lack of encouragement from historians in Ireland, who did not think 
that much could be done as a result of the destruction of the main corpus of 
Irish records in 1922, I set to work. If my dissertation on early Tudor Ireland 
has now been superseded, working on it taught me how to search for material 
in unlikely sources and how to combine apparently discrete data into something 
of a coherent pattern. I also learned, I hope, never to take first impressions for 
granted but to look at every document as a challenge from which unexpected 
information could be extracted if it was examined time after time. Not, perhaps, 
that this is a very unusual process, but it proved invaluable to me later in my career. 

It helps to explain how and why I have been able to make some sense of 
obscure happenings on both sides of the Atlantic (though no doubt some nonsense 
also). I need scarcely stress that early ventures into the Atlantic are very poorly 
documented and that to make a reasonable sequence out of them demands not 
only repeated attempts to extract every possible implication from each piece of 
evidence, but also willingness to recognise that if new scraps of evidence appear 
they must somehow be accommodated, even if it involves starting again and 
shaping an altered pattern and sequence. This kind of work teaches ingenuity, 
it is true, but it also teaches humility— knowledge that material for anything 
like a complete understanding of a series of such episodes may never be forth- 
coming and that any attempt at narrative, much less analysis, is bound to 
be ephemeral. 

To return to my career. Newton fortunately recommended me at the beginning 
of 1934 to fill a post mainly concerned with British colonial history at University 
College, Southampton, then a small college, now a distinguished university. 
I was fortunate in my colleagues there — Reginald Betts, later Masaryk professor 
of Central European history in London, and Joel Hurstfield, later Astor professor 
of English history in London also. In spite of a heavy teaching load I was able 
to do some editing work on Southampton trade in the fifteenth century, valuable 
for my interest in later maritime history, and to take up the study of one of 
the personalities who had early connections with both Ireland and America, 
Sir Humphrey Gilbert. Edward Lynam, superintendent of the Map Room in 
the British Museum, then secretary-editor of the Hakluyt Society, an Irishman, 
was interested in the combination of Sir Humphrey Gilbert's interests in Ireland 
as well as America, and got the society to accept a collection of documents 
on Gilbert, with some reflection of his Irish as well as his American interests. 
This I was able to deliver to the British Museum on the day in August 1939 

Reflections 237 

when it was packing its treasures to send them out of London for safety as 
war was threatening. The two volumes duly appeared in 1940 about the time 
the Battle of Britain was taking place. 

I should interpolate here that in 1937 I was fortunate enough to meet Alison 
Moffat Robertson when we were both looking after Basque child refugees from 
the Spanish Civil War. We soon married and she proved willing to turn from 
teaching and to use her Edinburgh University degree in history and English 
to work at my side during vacations in the Public Record Office and British 
Museum. She thus became my— often unacknowledged — collaborator. In 
subsequent years the Quinn and Quinn names have appeared on several books, 
if not as many as there should have been, since her insights and her critical 
sense have made a contribution to my own work which it is difficult over forty- 
nine years to acknowledge at all adequately. I only hope that our collaboration 
will continue into our eighties. 

It so happened that in August 1939 we were moving to Belfast. I had kept 
up my Irish history by a number of articles since 1934. Professor Todd had 
introduced the teaching of Irish history (then frowned on by the Northern Ireland 
government) both as a means, perhaps, of soothing a few quarrels as well as 
being a worthwhile subject in its own right. He appointed me to replace 
T. W. Moody who had moved to his outstanding career in Trinity College, 
Dublin. During the war years I was not only engaged in civil defense duties 
but also in learning to combine the teaching of Irish and early American history, 
publishing some papers stressing the colonial aspect of Irish history and its 
analogies in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries with colonial ventures 
in America. I think the high point here was getting a paper on Sir Thomas 
Smith and the beginnings of English colonial theory accepted by the American 
Philosophical Society in 1943. This was the year when I escaped from Belfast 
for six months to replace a colleague of Professor Betts's in the BBC European 
Service writing news bulletins for Czechoslovakia. At that time A. L. Rowse 
asked me if I would consider writing a little book on Sir Walter Ralegh for 
a new series. What convinced me that this might carry forward my linking 
of Irish and American and early colonial history a stage further was the chance 
to see the John White drawings in the British Museum, brought from their 
hiding place to be shown to Archibald MacLeish, then assistant secretary of 
state, who had some notion of having them published as a signal of English 
and American cultural interdependence. I was so taken by them as throwing 
a new light on Ralegh's colonial activities that I accepted the invitation to write 
what became Raleigh and the British Empire, a title which surprisingly survived 
from 1947, when it first came out, to 1973, its last appearance in paperback. 

Before the war was over we had moved to Swansea, a small campus of the 
University of Wales, where I was professor and head of department. I was very 
busy there but began to teach both some American and early modern European 

Raleigh and Quinn 

expansion history, and continued my work on what had now become a real 
subject for me, the early American colonising attempts. I spent every moment 
I could in London, with the aid of my wife's fortitude in bringing up three 
young children in difficult postwar conditions, without much help from me. 
I soon became convinced that uncritical reliance on what Hakluyt had published 
on the voyages of the 1580s to the newly named "Virginia" was inadequate. 
I kept finding things which added bits and pieces to the accepted story and 
accumulated unanswered questions about what I was to call "The Roanoke 
Voyages"— a term which now appears to have become established. I proposed 
(rashly) to the Hakluyt Society that I might edit for it all the documents on 
English connections with North America before 1607 which had not already 
appeared in their publications. Fortunately I did not press this at the time, but 
I did enough to get an article on the 1585 Virginia voyage accepted for the 
William and Mary Quarterly, which in turn brought me a grant of enough dollars 
from the Leverhulme Trust to spend ten weeks in America in 1948. During 
this time I ranged from Massachusetts to North Carolina, scouting out the 
land, as I was convinced that only seeing the terrain, and consulting with people 
who knew about ethnography, linguistics, botany, and zoology would enable 
me to comment adequately on the early voyages. The high point of this visit 
was a week spent in the Carolina Outer Banks under the auspices of the Coast 
Guard, in company with Professor Carl Bridenbaugh and John Gordon. This 
enabled me to see a good part of the banks and sounds from sea and land — a 
great good fortune as many parts of them have by now become unrecognisable. 
The reconstruction too of the outer works of the defences of 1585-86 on Roanoke 
Island was then going on, and, after seeing them, brought me into contact 
with America's leading historical archaeologist, J. C. (Pinky) Harrington, in 
whose honour an annual medal is being awarded by the Society for Historical 
Archaeology. I also met Professor William P. Cumming of Davidson College, 
who has long been recognised as the outstanding historical cartographer of eastern 
North America. With all these people, happily still with us, I have maintained 
contact and have had assistance from them and sometimes assisted them, in turn, 
over almost forty years. The making of Roanoke Voyages as a fully documented 
and annotated body of material would not have been possible but for two people 
in England— R. A. (Peter) Skelton, killed in a car crash in 1970, and Paul Hulton, 
who is very much alive. Skelton had just taken over the editorship of Hakluyt 
Society publications and with his encouragement and help we set out to shape 
the volumes, as it was now clear there would be two, into a new pattern, that 
would raise the level of detailed scholarship of the society's famous series and 
present it in a more attractive form. I think we did this, if comparison is made 
between publications before and after 1955. The other piece of good fortune 
was that after I had decided to use the John White drawings, as far as it was 
possible to do so, as historical documents, Paul Hulton joined the staff of the 

Reflections 239 

British Museum's Prints and Drawings Department and became involved in their 
official catalogue of British drawings. Cooperation with him helped that part 
of my collections forward (and left both of us determined to get the White 
drawings published in full as soon as possible). Finally, Alison Quinn, besides 
helping with the documentary works, compiled a fine pair of indexes that helped 
greatly to make the volumes accessible. When the volumes appeared they were 
well received, but by then I was already branching out into other aspects of 
English activity in North America, being able in the summer of 1957 to spend 
some months in the great libraries in the East reading as much contemporary 
material as I could and widening the range of my inquiry, especially into Spanish 
concern with North America. 

In the autumn of 1957 we moved to Liverpool, where I was to remain for 
the next nineteen years as professor of modern history. It was there that I was 
able for the first time to concentrate much of my teaching on the early expansion 
of Europe, on Tudor Ireland, and to do some concentrated work on early North 
America, being fortunate enough to have a small sequence of high quality graduate 
students to inspire me on my way. Some of them have gone far professionally 
since then: Gillian Cell is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in the 
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; another, Colin Steele, is librarian 
of the Australian National University; another, Joyce Lorimer, is professor of 
history in Wilfred Laurier University, Ontario; and Susan Hillier is a highly 
regarded record agent. I mention them, apart from others, since each has made 
valuable contributions to the history of the Americas. 

I may say that the decade from 1954 to 1964 was overshadowed by the problem 
of how to get the White drawings published, and then by getting it done. 
The history of this long drawn-out epic for Quinn and Hulton had best be 
told elsewhere, but it ended with two very finely produced volumes. Specially 
bound copies were presented, respectively, in 1964 to Queen Elizabeth II, and 
to Lady Bird Johnson— who with her daughters clearly enjoyed them. Many 
other things occurred during this decade. I was able to visit the United States 
and Canada in 1959, partly to work on White, and was especially fortunate 
to become acquainted with William C. Sturtevant, who became our invaluable 
adviser on the ethnography of the John White Indian, and with whom, I may 
say, I am at present collaborating on another project. I was able to work up 
material on a number of specialised topics through this visit. However, already 
R. A. Skelton and I had decided to collaborate on a facsimile editon of Richard 
Hakluyt's first great voyage collection, The principall navigations of 1589, hitherto 
neglected. We worked on an extended introduction, where Skelton's bibliographical 
skills proved invaluable, and got the facsimile into order. Alison took on the 
difficult job of preparing a full index to this Black Letter text. Technically a 
very difficult thing to do, she eventually completed it with such success that 
she was awarded the Wheatley Medal of the Library Association and Society 

240 Raleigh and Quinn 

of Indexers for 1965 when the two volumes appeared as Extra Series volumes 
for the Hakluyt Society. 

So far my experience of America had been for summer vacations only, but 
in 1963-64 I got my first sabbatical in twenty years of teaching and this enabled 
both of us to work in American libraries for some fourteen months. The research 
we managed to do there (and Alison did as much as I did to cover every possi- 
ble piece of ground and each piece of literature) was partly directed to continu- 
ing the Roanoke voyages by a comparable volume or volumes on New England 
and perhaps Newfoundland. This took us to Newfoundland, often to Maine, 
to much of Massachusetts, and to use libraries across North America, especially 
the John Carter Brown, the Henry E. Huntington (for which Alison drove 
across America, following parts of Soto's and Coronado's routes), the Houghton 
and Widener libraries, the Folger, and the Library of Congress. Under Louis 
Wright's guidance in the Folger I wrote a short book, The Elizabethans and 
the Irish, which came out in 1966 and was mainly intended to help literary students 
to understand Tudor Ireland and to record a few links between Ireland and 

After our return I got involved, on the margins, with the fine editions of 
Captain Cook's journal, which John Beaglehole was editing for the Hakluyt 
Society of which I was by now a council member. Alison was responsible for 
indexing the two vast volumes on the third voyage, and I became interested 
too. In 1967 the British Council, through John Beaglehole, arranged that we 
should go to New Zealand to tour the four old universities and the two new 
ones. I found a very considerable response in all the universities to early American 
history, especially to the establishment of New England, and interest too in 
parallels between John White's American drawings and those made on Cook's 
voyages. Alison had the job of talking to librarians and others on indexing Cook. 
The glimpses we had of the Pacific going and coming home certainly enlarged 
our range of interests. 

The American interlude of 1963-64 had been followed in successive vacations 
by continued searches of local archives and private collections over most of the 
west and southwest of England (greatly helped by former students who had 
become archivists) for manuscript material on North America in the sixteenth 
and early seventeenth century, especially on the New England enterprises before 
1609. We had little success in the latter quest, but an unexpected find helped 
to draw us back to Sir Humphrey Gilbert — the discovery of some personal letters 
on his preparations for the 1583 voyage at Longleat. This, in turn, enabled us 
to follow up an associate of Gilbert through a proposal for a translation of Stephen 
Parmenius's poem on Gilbert by a classically minded psychologist, Neil Cheshire. 
Our collaboration on The newfound land of Stephen Parmenius, finely produced 
for us by Toronto University Press in 1973, brought invitations to both of us 
in turn to visit Hungary, since Paremenius was the first Hungarian to write 

Reflections 241 

on a North American theme and to be drowned on Sable Island before he had 
composed his planned epic on an American voyage. We each duly lectured at 
the Academy of Sciences in Budapest on this unusual subject. 

In the late 1960s and early 1970s I had an opportunity to collaborate in a 
small way with Professor William P. Cumming in the volume The Discovery 
of North America (1971), for whose fine maps and annotations Peter Skelton 
was responsible just before his death, and also in the later The Exploration of 
North America, 1634-1776 (1974), in which Susan Hillier also took part. Both 
these volumes proved very popular, but my personal part in them was limited; 
however, they taught me much about the appeal of highly illustrated books 
with a straightforward narrative and some documents attached. 

In 1965 Harper and Row asked me to contribute a volume on the early 
discovery period in North America to the New American Nation Series. This 
forced me to work over the whole field from the Norse voyages down to the 
early settlements (and I was able to include something on the LAnse aux Meadows 
discovery of a Norse site) as far as 1612 in Florida, Virginia, Canada, and 
Newfoundland. This was done in intervals in other work, especially when I 
was Harrison visiting professor of history at the College of William and Mary 
in 1969-70, another enjoyable and productive year off. It was completed only 
in 1976 as I was about to retire from my Liverpool chair. In this I tried to 
give a balanced view of the activity of the various European powers in North 
America, sticking mainly to narrative to bring out the relative importance of 
the various countries involved, but with some degree of assessment of their 
achievements. The most original part was probably on the Newfoundland fisheries, 
which I stressed as being the major economic motive for European concern 
with North America. Thanks to Mrs. Selma Barkham, I was able to say a little 
about her astonishing revelation of the extent of the Basque whale fishery on 
the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Alison and I were able to see relics of this at Red 
Bay in Labrador in 1979. (These researches have been carried much further since, 
though not by us.) 

In 1975, when my retirement from Liverpool was approaching, I was honoured 
by being asked to give the annual Prothero Lecture for the Royal Historical 
Society, and in "Renaissance Influences in English Colonisation" I tried to give 
some indication of the range of my North American interests. I did not know 
that at that time some of my friends in England, Ireland, and America were 
preparing a festschrift for me— The Westward Enterprise, which came out in 1978. 
I was able to retire, however, knowing that there was still much to be done. 
In fact I was already doing it. 

In 1974 Robert Hector, a New York publisher, asked me if I would compile 
a comprehensive reprint (with introductions) of all the major narratives which 
had been published in English, for the use of smaller colleges and high school 
libraries that might not have been able to get out-of-print materials. I started 

242 Raleigh and Quinn 

on this innocently enough before I retired, with Alison's and Susan Hillier's 
help, and had collected a substantial amount of material by 1976. I had insisted 
on adding a few translations and was getting ahead with them through the 
assistance of colleagues in Liverpool. About halfway through the whole project 
I was suddenly confronted with the demand on the part of the co-publisher, 
Arno Press, that I must add a substantial amount of hitherto unpublished material 
and much more in the way of translations to lend more originality to the project. 
The former request I could only respond to by throwing into the collection 
many of the manuscript materials on English enterprises I had been assembling 
for future Hakluyt Society volumes without, of course, the annotation that was 
being planned for them. I did not have time or money to have very many further 
translations made. This gave the collection a somewhat uneven character, though 
I tried to balance the extra English documents with some French, Spanish, and 
a little Portuguese material. We had almost finished when I was instructed to 
delete some one hundred pages from the fifth volume, which was about Spanish 
Florida and Virginia, so that I had to discard some of our hard-won translations 
on Florida as well as a good deal on Virginia. By the time the title was ready 
for the press, Alison and I were already in America. To reach deadlines all three 
of us had to stretch ourselves to the limit, so that if mistakes continue to be 
found it is because the pressure was so great we could do no more proofreading 
than we did. However, in the general introduction, I did try to give some 
perspective to the documentation of early European involvement in America 
and to indicate directions for further research which perhaps are beginning to 
bear some fruit. 

New American World as it appeared in five volumes in 1979 is scarcely what 
I envisaged when I first suggested a project of this sort as a member of the 
council of the Institute of Early American History in 1969. The suggestion 
that it might need twenty volumes to complete the documentation of the pre- 
Jamestown period and take many years of research shocked that eighteenth-century 
centered body to the core and was turned down out of hand, so that New American 
World was the best I and my collaborators could do in the circumstances. 

In 1970, too, when we were visiting Harvard, Bernard Bailyn suggested to 
me that I should attempt to put what I had already written, and whatever 
additional material I had in hand, into a book, and introduced me to Jane Garret, 
an editor at Alfred Knopf. With her help and the devoted labour of one of 
her subeditors, my book, England and the Discovery of America, 1481-1620, was 
published in 1974. This contained a certain amount of controversial material 
about the beginnings of English enterprise in the fifteenth century and on the 
Vinland Map, but it also collected my more specialised studies on the later 
sixteenth century and the opening of the seventeenth, which have stood up better 
to later scrutiny. The experience of working with such an enlightened editor 
and publisher was exciting. 

Reflections 243 

The development of scholarly interest in Thomas Harriot led, from 1969 
onwards, to a series of seminars at Oxford, Newark (Delaware), and Durham 
(England), intended to elucidate his significance as a Renaissance scholar and 
scientist— the first to come to North America. John W. Shirley and I collaborated 
in a paper on him in 1969, and I published several more later, including "Thomas 
Harriot and the New World" in Shirley's edited volume, Thomas Harriot, 
Renaissance Scientist (1974). Studies are still being made of his mathematical works 
for which he left many rough notes, but unfortunately almost all his manuscript 
materials on North America have been lost. His surviving papers have been 
assembled by a committee of which I was chairman, and photocopies have been 
placed in repositories in England and the United States. 

Several other interesting projects had been completed in the early 1970s. One 
was The Hakluyt Handbook (1974), which Peter Skelton and I had planned in 
the sixties. Unfortunately he died before he had made more than one contribution 
to it. It involved getting a team of contributors together, with the help of Terence 
Armstrong, who had succeeded Skelton in the Hakluyt Society. Alison and I 
were left with most of the bibliographical work to do, and we missed Peter 
Skelton's expertise in this field very greatly, while we had to rove over eastern 
England to trace his movements and summarize the facts of Hakluyt's career. 
It was a rush job but nonetheless, with Alison's two fine indexes, it has proved 
very useful. 

The other task was a fascinating one. Among the Phillipps Manuscripts, Philip 
Robinson had found a small handwritten book, which eventually passed into 
the possession of Paul Mellon, and which appeared to be the last testament of 
Thomas Cavendish on his fatal last voyage, written at the point of death in 
the Atlantic in 1593. I was able to publish this in 1975 in facsimile and a 
line-by-line transcript and with an adequate editorial apparatus. (Recently some 
doubt has been cast on whether the writing is Cavendish's or not, or whether 
it is a duplicate, imitating Cavendish's hand; my own conviction is still that 
the manuscript or at least the signed conclusion is Cavendish's own.) The task 
was a most exciting one as it revealed the personality of its author, ill and paranoic, 
in a way that few documents of the time do. 

If I may, I will interpolate still another phase of activity. I had not abandoned 
Irish history. I have been associated since 1969 with the preparation, under the 
auspices of the Royal Irish Academy, of which I have been a member since 1942, 
of A New History of Ireland. Like many collaborative works it has been slow 
to appear. With Kenneth Nicholls, I contributed a chapter to the early modern 
volume (III) in 1977 and four to the late medieval one (II) which has recently 
appeared. I number young Irish historians among my friends and have encouraged 
them to carry on work which I may have started but which they are now bringing 
to a much higher level of expertise and understanding. 

244 Raleigh and Quinn 

Over the years I had gradually to pick up what could be learned about the 
Native Americans of eastern North America, though my knowledge has still 
remained very much that of the amateur. I knew nothing of the Eskimos (or 
Inuit). In Canada, briefly in 1959 and 1963, and later in 1970, I learned much 
about them from Jacques Rousseau, head of the Institute of Northern Studies 
at Laval University and collaborated with him on a few small papers. I was 
also in touch with Gordon Day at the Museum of Man, who persuaded me 
to put together a Guide to Sources for the Ethnography of Northeastern North America 
to 1611. This was very good for me, as it made me go over the sources for 
the area between the Hudson River and Montreal with a new care for detail. 
This was a long time in typescript — indeed it was lost for several years— but 
it eventually appeared in 1981, though I still think it was a rash thing to attempt, 
given my limited background in this area. Visits to Canada included several 
to Newfoundland between 1963 and 1979. Having at least seen the Maritimes, 
the Saguenay, and the St. Lawrence Valley, I felt not too far from home when 
writing about the French in Canada and the fishermen in Newfoundland, where 
in 1963 I was able to see the workings of the inshore fishery in its old form, 
little changed from the sixteenth century, before the great changes which had 
taken place by 1979, when it had almost disappeared. 

When I was about to retire I had intended to continue my work mainly 
in Liverpool with occasional visits to the United States, but in 1975, when we 
were briefly in Washington, I had an opportunity to meet (through an old friend, 
Wilcomb Washburn) President Renwick Jackson of St. Mary's College of 
Maryland. He told me he wished to have a senior visiting professor at the college 
to develop American colonial history in view of the important excavations taking 
place of the first Maryland settlement, St. Mary's City, founded in 1634, and 
to coordinate undergraduate teaching to some extent with the archaeological 
work being done by the St. Mary's City Commission. I agreed to go there 
for the session 1976-77. In the end, Alison and I went to St. Mary's City for 
seven years for one or two semesters a year if not every year. This involved me 
in teaching American undergraduates American colonial history, the early 
expansion of Europe, and some early modern British history. It also involved 
close but informal cooperation with Lois Green Carr, historian of the commission, 
and Gary Stone, the chief archaeologist. This continued from 1976 to 1984. 
At St. Mary's City we were able to attract distinguished lecturers to visit us 
from time to time, and with President Jackson's assistance, and in order to 
contribute to the approaching 350th anniversary of Maryland, I was able to 
get the lectures with some additional material published as Early Maryland in 
a Wider World, which came out in 1982 and has been well received. This sequence 
was broken in 1979 by a semester teaching at Ann Arbor, where I had an enjoyable 
few months, especially with an outstanding graduate seminar and the use of 
the resources of the William L. Clements Library. From 1980 onward, too, 

Reflections 245 

I was involved in the preliminary preparations in North Carolina for the 400th 
anniversary of the Roanoke Colonies, timed to last from 1984 to 1987. It was 
finally decided I should contribute a general book on the Roanoke voyages; 
in 1983 I was able to spend six months at the National Humanities Center 
in North Carolina, during which I drafted, and Alison helped revise, a book 
eventually called Set Fair for Roanoke. It needed a good deal of improvement 
and was not finally published until 1985. It was my first attempt to write 
something accessible to the nonspecialist reader since 1947, but it seems to have 
served its purpose. Needless to say, I was involved in a good many lectures and 
other engagements in the state during the celebrations, which end in 1987. 

Ever since my first visit to Martha's Vineyard in 1948 and the coaching of 
the Gosnold enthusiast Warner Gookin, I had intended to collect and annotate 
all the earliest writings about the English in New England. They had come 
marginally into my Gilbert volumes in 1940. In later visits, notably in 1959, 
I went sailing along the Maine coast with Samuel E. Morison and visited 
Monhegan as well. Alison and I visited Maine together in 1963-64, but it was 
in 1969-70 that we seriously got down to work on the details of such narratives 
as we had been able to collect. The late Wendell Hadlock with Lawrence and 
Eleanor Smith especially helped us in Maine. Alison worked particularly on the 
botany and other aspects of natural history. I mainly concentrated on the native 
peoples and both of us on the topography. Good friends made it possible for 
us to follow the route taken by Waymouth in 1605 to the tidal head of the 
St. George River, and we also got to Monhegan (in 1959 I had left hurriedly, 
having contracted pneumonia). Flying along the coast several times at no great 
altitude we were able to see a great deal of the incredibly indented coast of 
Maine. Our second son, Rory, worked for a time with the Park Service excavation 
(frustratingly unsuccessful) on the site of the 1607 Sagadahoc colony. But we 
were never able to get much satisfaction from our own examination of the 1607 
site, concluding in the end that most of it had been removed for material to 
build Fort Popham in the late 1850s. 

However, after we got New American World off our hands, we did make a 
determined effort to get our thousands of New England notes in order. As St. 
Mary's College completed its year in May we were able to get a month or two 
in various libraries, in Washington mainly, but also in the Huntington and John 
Carter Brown, while we managed in our intervals in England to spend a certain 
amount of time in the renamed British Library and the Public Record Office. 
Eventually we got out The English New England Voyages, 1602-1608 in 1983 
with only 2,000 footnotes instead of about 4,000 we had collected — though 
enough to give most publishers the horrors. It will be a useful volume but lacking 
such originality as the Gilbert and Roanoke collections had. But it did bring 
our documentary work on pre-Jamestown North America to an end, except 
for one thing, Hakluyt's "Discourse of Western Planting" for which an elaborate 

246 Raleigh and Quinn 

edition has been planned, if we could ever pull the bits and pieces of the 
commentary together. Somehow during odd vacations, too, I managed to write 
half of an introductory book on England's Sea Empire, 1550-1640, the original 
parts of which on the navy were the work of my Liverpool colleague and naval 
historian, Anthony N. Ryan. 

History has, I think, to be told in relatively simple, straightforward terms 
and with due consciousness of its imperfection and incompleteness. It can never 
do more than make a few boreholes into the human past. At the same time, 
where materials are scanty, it should use every feasible method of exploiting 
them. Perhaps nowadays, with technical devices, more can be done in certain 
areas, but in all the areas with which I have been concerned in research broad 
theoretical approaches tend to founder from lack of sufficient data to go beyond 
the most tentative generalizations. This does not mean that the historian 
of the fifteenth to the seventeenth century in these areas cannot make any 
generalizations, but they should, I believe very firmly, be such as can tentatively, 
and not dogmatically, link disparate data, without fitting or attempting to fit 
them into any all-encompassing categories of thought or action. 

It is a matter of good fortune to find intimate data about individuals in these 
fields, and when it is found it should be nourished and set out with all possible 
attention to detail. Similarly, in dealing with voyages or colonizing enterprises, 
which have formed the staple of my own work in the American field, it is 
the detail which is worth finding and commenting on, because the better known 
narrative data will in a sense not reveal as much, anything like as much, as the 
fully researched and annotated texts, not only of what was done but what was 
the context in which it took place. I have, as it happened, concentrated very 
much on English contacts across the Atlantic, but if I had another life to live 
I would like to have done as much for Spain. Even now the vast area of the 
North American fishery remains largely unresearched in detail, even though 
new sources are fairly rapidly being opened up. 

Considerations such as these explain why I have allowed my natural curiosity 
to range so widely over the areas of human activity and their geographic 
background in the period in which I have been most concerned (though I have 
been greatly helped by Alison's perceptions and work). 

Historical archaeologists and ethnographers will still need to have historians 
to enable them to follow up the more elementary clues which we have tried 
as far as we could— even if we are very conscious that others can, and we hope 
will, take them very much farther. Reading through considerable numbers of 
manuscripts and books in several languages has gradually brought me to see — if 
still dimly— patterns of activity engaged in by the various European peoples 
concerned with North America in the very limited period with which we have 
concerned ourselves. These will have become apparent in the rather stark outline 
of my New American Nation textbook, though after a decade since it was written 

Reflections 247 

I would like to restate some of them. I think I may have got the English aspects 
nearly right, if there is any such thing to be said. I cannot pretend that for 
Spain, France, and Portugal— let alone the Dutch who peer in at the end of 
it— my views as expressed then have the best obtainable perspective. But in the 
past decade enough work has been done or published on Spanish Florida, for 
example, as to make my formulations appear rather limited in scope and probably 
inaccurate in substantial part. I may not have got the French so far wrong, but 
I would like to see more of their maritime activities brought to light before 
I would be dogmatic about this. So far as the Portuguese are concerned the 
absence of data so far discovered puts a block, almost a complete one, on my 
general picture of their significance in the general picture. I am inclined to observe 
that it was greater than we know. But at the end of each project I have undertaken, 
there remains the question, "Have I gone as far as possible with the information 
at my disposal?" Sometimes this is an incentive to Alison or myself to hunt 
a little further. But continuously I have been more and more aware as I passed 
towards the limits of my effective contribution to American studies that the 
early story is still incomplete, that the data may very well not exist to make 
many aspects of it fully intelligible, so that any generalizations which take the 
perception of what happened further must depend more on speculation than 
information. Gradually improved formulation of what has happened can develop, 
but it has its dangers. Such progress can very well wean a scholar from history 
to mythology— to belief in all the hare-brained theories about European, African, 
or Asian contacts with America in the centuries before the late fifteenth, but 
on the other hand cautious extrapolation from fully authenticated data may not 
wholly be worth condemnation. I have tried it out to some extent in Set Fair 
for Roanoke and, at least, it tends to provoke counterspeculation which may (or 
may not) carry our understanding a few tiny stages forward. 

I have long been certain that early American history can only properly be 
seen in a wide Atlantic context and must take in Europe and Africa in a western 
Atlantic history which will enable us to assess the precise nature of the European 
impact on the new lands in their early stages. This must involve not only strictly 
colonial history but maritime history and even the tremendous problem of 
categorising in relevant terms the organisation of society in the eastern Atlantic 
as well. The traditional concentration on the East, the growing point it is true 
for the later United States, but not of the beginnings of European intervention 
in the landmass as a whole, must end. 

We cannot eliminate the Spanish penetration of the interior— if only because 
it provided one main incentive for the exploration of the east. And further, 
it is vital for the understanding of European cartographical concepts of North 
America as a whole. Was there a way round it by the north? Was there a narrow 
waist (as Verrazzano thought and some Englishmen believed until the end of 
the sixteenth century)? Or was there a mountain range which, when reached, 

248 Raleigh and Quinn 

would provide rivers flowing to the Pacific? The Atlantic indeed cannot be 
understood unless we see it not only as a route to North America for its own 
sake, but also as a halfway stage towards the Orient. I have therefore been 
determined to try to assert the unity of European efforts to explore and understand 
the whole of North America and not confine my view to what small parts 
of it the Europeans came to dominate in the early seventeenth century. 

One of the problems about New American World was that a good deal of 
material had to be put in without footnotes or full explanations, though it was 
not left entirely bare. But whatever weaknesses the collection has, it does, I 
think, take the study of American history in this period a stage further in that 
it tries to present the process of European activity for North America as a whole 
from east to west, from north to south. There is, however, a problem with 
the southern limit. Geography stresses that North America begins at the Yucatan 
peninsula, not at the artificial 1849 frontier. But in defining North America 
in this way how can Mexico, its exploration and history into the seventeenth 
century, be split in a documentary collection? It is simply impossible. Mexico 
has had to await John Parry's New Iberian World (5 volumes, 1985), which we 
arranged should not overlap with our North America. Unfortunately John Parry 
did not live to see his fine collection brought to its final conclusion, though 
when we spoke to him about it only a few weeks before his sudden death in 
1982 he was, he assured me, very nearly at the end, and fortunately his friends 
have been able to round it off for publication. 

One of the most valuable growing points in the study of the early history 
of North America is the increasing convergence of history, anthropology, and 
archaeology, each discipline retaining its autonomy. The anthropologists have 
reinforced the historical study of early contacts between European and Native 
Americans besides providing a basis for the study of man in North America 
before 1492. Archaeologists have developed ever more sophisticated techniques 
for the interpretation of the material remains which men, both before and after 
1492, have left behind them in the ground. They too have learned that, where 
it exists, documentary evidence is essential in planning and interpreting excavations. 
The work of the St. Mary's City Commission (now renamed), which I was 
fortunate enough to see at close quarters for some years, profited enormously 
from the cooperation of historians, more particularly social historians, with 
archaeologists, even if in the end some vital issues had to be resolved by repeated 
reevaluations of their work by the archaeologists themselves, which threw new 
light on problems not capable of solution by the immediate correlation of historical 
materials and archaeological finds. 

The Society for Historical Archaeology has attracted a number of historians 
of early North American history, and no wonder. At their 1987 annual meeting, 
archaeology, anthropology, and historical research combined produced some 
remarkable results. Among them was the creation of a picture of St. Augustine 

Reflections 249 

in the sixteenth century which could not have been attained by any one discipline 
in isolation; excavations at a mission site on St. Catherine's Island which reinforced 
the considerable existing documentation with fresh insights into the relations 
between Franciscan friars and Guale Indians; a Smithsonian team consisting of 
an anthropologist, an archaeologist, and, not least, a historian, was able to report 
on the first major European mining venture in North America (in Baffin Island 
in 1578) with significant results. These examples show that the effective study 
of the early contact period, at least, can make its perhaps most spectacular progress 
by this alliance of hitherto separate disciplines, even if there are still many 
documents to be explored in Spain, France, and other parts of Europe, which 
can advance our knowledge and understanding. But, of course, what happened 
in North America in the period down, say, to 1630, still depends on increased 
understanding of the economic, social, and political objectives of western 
Europeans and the character of the societies in which they lived, an area where 
research and interpretation are still bringing novel information and viewpoints 
to light and where there is no consensus in sight. However, there is gradually 
emerging (most recently in D. W. Meinig's Atlantic America, 1492-1800 [1986]), 
a new synthesis on the convergence of Europe and North America in this early 
period. If this is so, and if I have played some small part in bringing it about, 
I am very glad to have been able to assist in a process that is still far from 
being complete. 

It is now, perhaps, possible to see a pattern emerging in the earliest relations 
of European powers with North America in the sixteenth and early seventeenth 
centuries. Despite a considerable amount of discovery and an appreciable degree 
of exploration, no state was willing to take on responsibility for the penetration 
of North America and the establishment of a permanent hold on the mainland, 
as it had not been established that such action would repay the effort and 
expenditure involved in it. The exception, the Spanish occupation of Florida, 
a limited occupation only, was done primarily for strategic reasons rather than 
because Florida offered, it was soon found, any appreciable resources of its own. 
Consequently, it was left to private or corporate risk capital to develop slowly 
the conviction that direct exploitation of America would pay its way and make 
profits. The first and most significant factor in this was the growth of the cod 
fishery, into which France, England, and the Iberian countries poured increasing 
amounts of capital and human resources and made considerable profits. The 
growth of the fishery and its ramifications in western Europe is an important 
indicator of how the proto-capitalism of these countries was developing. But 
it did not involve either capitalists or fishermen with more than peripheral contacts 
with the land surface of any part of North America. The Basque whale fishery 
on a limited section of the Labrador coast required some degree of continuity, 
if not year-round occupation, but the installations on the coasts of Newfoundland 
and the Maritimes were transitory and European occupation lasted for only a 

250 Raleigh and Quinn 

few months in the year. But the scale of the fishery made it possible for those 
with money to invest to consider North America as a possible source of profits. 
This, in turn, led to investment of French capital in the fur trade, which, if 
it was also seasonal, brought traders into close contact with the interior in the 
St. Lawrence valley and in the Maritimes. It was clear that precious metals were 
not very likely to be found — the mining venture of 1577-78 in Baffin Island 
having proved a fiasco — though their existence could not be ruled out, while 
iron, copper, and other non-precious metals were at least possible resources which 
might be developed (traces were discovered in Newfoundland in 1583 by Sir 
Humphrey Gilbert). But it was the fur trade, as much as anything else, which 
led on to experiments in a wider range of exploitation, the implantation of 
agricultural settlements, under corporate management and control, on the 
assumption that subtropical products could be obtained in latitudes comparable 
with those in the Old World if such settlements were established. The attempt 
to do so in 1585-86 by the colonists sent by Sir Walter Ralegh to Roanoke 
Island proved inconclusive. After the return of the colonists in 1586 Ralegh 
became skeptical about the possibility of profits to be made from continuing 
such an enterprise. Had it then been pursued, private capital would have had 
to be raised over a period of years and land acquired from its inhabitants, involving 
direct penetration of the mainland territory for the first time by Englishmen. 
The venture of 1587, in which a small band of colonists, in family units, proposed 
to live on a more or less self-supporting basis, was an aberration, if a significant 
one, in the process which had hitherto been developing. As it was, the sixteenth 
century ended without a single English or French colony (apart from a few 
convicts on Sable Island) being established in North America. The conditions 
for profitable investment had not yet become clear, even though France and 
England had mapped out paper spheres of influence which they might eventually 
wish to exploit. 

Even in the early seventeenth century no attempts at systematic occupation 
under state auspices were made until private capital had established advance trading 
stations on the mainland. The Virginia Company of 1607 was a trading company, 
chartered by the Crown, and Jamestown was founded and supplied on the 
assumption that exotic products could be grown there which would aid England's 
trade balance as well as to exploit timber and other natural resources, though 
after 1609 it operated as a national rather than a sectional corporation through 
many vicissitudes. But it was not until 1618 that most of those in employment 
there ceased to be servants of the company and small-scale enterpreneurial efforts 
were added to the corporation's own activities. Only the bankruptcy of the 
corporation forced the Crown to take direct responsibility for the government 
of Virginia, when colonial penetration began in earnest. Similarly, the fur trade 
on the St. Lawrence was managed as a trading venture by the port towns of 
Normandy and Brittany, the establishment of Quebec as a permanent trading 

Reflections 251 

post being financed by private capital. Only gradually down to 1627 was the 
French state involved to any significant extent in the trading operations, nor 
was there any colonisation. Private enterprise, too, began the creation of fishing 
stations in what was known from 1616 as New England; the Pilgrims of 1620 
were essentially a group of persons operating without any measure of control 
from England in creating what was intended to be a self-supporting settlement— 
but based on London-raised finance. Even in the late 1620s it was private, not 
state, enterprise that laid foundations for other settlements in New England. 

What has been said is not to attempt to give a summary history of English 
and French involvement apart from making the point that only when North 
America was thought to be able to pay its own way and make profits (whether 
it did or not is irrelevant in this context) was the land penetrated, and that 
the means for doing so was provided by private individuals or corporations. 
The state became involved only in setting out formal terms under which 
commercial corporations could operate. If this had not been the case settlements 
might have been deferred indefinitely, unless strategic issues were at stake. Indeed, 
in the case of New France, colonization was long delayed, and only the profits 
to be made by private individuals from tobacco and furs on the Chesapeake 
and by farming and fishing in New England brought English settlers to these 
areas ahead of any systematic state involvement in colonization. 

Considerations of this character have, I believe, informed my work on North 
America. Whether they make any long term contribution, apart from the 
documentary work I have done, remains for others to judge. 

My approach has almost certainly been too European-centered. It is necessary 
to balance the generalizations I have attempted by revealing what Europeans 
were doing to Native American society by their invasive character, first of their 
commerce and later— and more radically— of their physical penetration. Just as 
much of the commercial propaganda about the resources of North America was 
false, so also was the view dominating most contemporary documents that the 
"savages" had little in the way of a mature social organization and a coherent 
body of concepts, and that they had not appropriated in their own fashion land 
of which Europeans were gradually, once settlement of any sort began, to deprive 
them. Europeans arrived and continued with the twin assumptions that they 
could bring to Native Americans both Christianity and European civilization 
as bounteous gifts, while at the same time depriving them of their traditional 
social cohesion and their territory. The drive for gain was overlaid by partly 
unconscious beliefs that they could improve indigenous society at the same time 
as they were exploiting it. This context is now being explored by such leading 
scholars as James Axtell and Calvin Martin with results which compel much 
revision of views I have expressed in my writings. 

But I must leave the problems the early arrival of the Europeans created to 
say that I have been especially happy and lucky with my collaborators. As far 

252 Raleigh and Quinn 

as Alison is concerned, what she has done and what I have done have been 
so mixed that we can scarcely sort them out, but I could not possibly have 
covered so much ground without her constant help. But Peter Skelton, Paul 
Hulton, Bill Cumming, John Shirley, Neil Cheshire, Gillian Cell, Susan Hillier, 
Jacques Rousseau, Tony Ryan, Selma Barkham, and Bill Sturtevant, among others, 
have all enabled me to do things I could not otherwise have completed on my 
own. What I can look back on is a series of happy collaborations and the making 
of lasting friendships. I should also mention Kenneth Andrews, who has been 
a constant associate, sharing documents and ideas, even if we have not formally 
collaborated; while the same may be said of Lois Carr, with whom I have worked 
so closely in Maryland, even if I have not contributed anything directly to her 
remarkable original work on the social history of the colony. 

The welcome and exciting invitation to become an Honorary Member of 
the American Historical Association, together with an appointment as 
Distinguished Fulbright Fellow, was a complete surprise to me. I am glad to 
have been able to come to Chicago to meet this audience and convey something 
of my thanks for all the kindness and hospitality and assistance I have received 
in the United States since 1948 and which I am to attempt to repay in some 
small part by a long run of visits to universities and learned institutions over 
the next three weeks. This will take me to campuses I have never visited before, 
such as Stanford, Tallahassee, Knoxville, and Boston University. If we survive 
this I hope that this will not be our last visit to the United States. Indeed we 
are already bidden to a farewell to the 400th anniversary of North Carolina in 
March 1987. Thank you all for your tributes and for your patience in listening 
to an account of what has been in essence not a very exciting career, but a very 
enjoyable one in the company of past propagandists, explorers, and colonizers, 
good and bad, crazy or farsighted, whose thoughts and actions were to have 
an influence, fortunate or unfortunate, seminal or anachronistic, on the fortunes 
of Europe's early impact on North America. 


*A shorter oral version of this paper was delivered by Professor Quinn during a session titled 
"The Life and Work of David Beers Quinn" at the annual meeting of the American Historical 
Association in Chicago on 29 December 1986, at which time he was inducted into the AHA 
as an honorary member. A somewhat different version is scheduled in the July 1988 issue of 
the William and Mary Quarterly. 


The Publications of David Beers Quinn 
for the Years 1932-1987 

The Publications of David Beers Quinn 
for the Years 1932-1987* 


"Descriptions of Ards Peninsula by William Montgomery of Rosemount in 1683 and 
1701." Irish Booklover 20 (1932): 28-32. 

"An Early Irish Settlement at Malone, Belfast." Proceedings and Reports of the Belfast 
Natural History and Philosophical Society, 1930-1931 (1932): 46-49. 


"Irish Records, 1920-1933: A Survey." Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 11 
(1933): 99-104. 

"MSS in Lough Fea Library Catalogue of 1872." Irish Booklover 21 (1933): 12-13. 


"Anglo-Irish Ulster in the Early Sixteenth Century." Proceedings and Reports of the Belfast 
Natural History and Philosophical Society, 1933-1934 (1935): 28-42; reprinted as Ulster, 
1460-1550. Belfast, 1935. 

"Edward IV and Exploration." Mariner's Mirror 21 (1935): 275-84. 

"Henry, Duke of Richmond and His Connexion with Ireland, 1529-1530." Bulletin 
of the Institute of Historical Research 12 (1935): 175-77. 

"The Irish Parliamentary Subsidy in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries." Proceedings 
of the Royal Irish Academy 42, sect. C, no. 11 (1935): 219-46. 


"Ormond Papers, 1480-1535." In Calendar ofOrmond Deeds, edited by E. Curtis, vol. 
4, Dublin, 1937: 307-80. 

The Port Books or Local Customs Accounts of Southampton, 1468-1481. 2 vols. Southampton 
Record Society, nos. 37-38 (1937, 1938). 


"Anglo-Irish Local Government, 1484-1534." Irish Historical Studies I (1939): 354-81. 

"Revolutionary Army." review of Puritanism and Liberty, by A.S.P. Woodhouse. Modern 
Quarterly 2/2 (April 1939): 205-11. 

256 Raleigh and Quinn 


The Voyages and Colonising Enterprises of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. 2 vols. Hakluyt Society, 
2nd series, nos. 83-84. London, 1940; Nendeln, 1967. (Index by Alison Quinn). 


"Bills and Statutes of the Irish Parliaments of Henry VII and Henry VIII." Analecta 
Hibemica 10 (1941): 71-169. 

"The Early Interpretation of Poyning's Law, 1494-1534." Irish Historical Studies 2 (1941): 

"Guide to English Financial Records for Irish History, 1461-1558." Analecta Hibemica 
10 (1941): 1-69. 

(With Oliver Davies). "The Irish Pipe Roll of 14 John, 1211-1212." Ulster Journal 
of Archaeology, 3rd ser., IV (1941): supplement, 1-76. 


'"A Discourse of Ireland' (circa 1599): A Sidelight on English Colonial Policy." Proceedings 
of the Royal Irish Academy 47, sect. C, no. 3 (1942): 151-66. 

"Information about Dublin Printers, 1556-1573, in English Financial Records." Irish 
Booklover 28 (1942): 112-14. 

"Parliaments and Great Councils in Ireland, 1461-1586." Irish Historical Studies 3 (1942): 


"Government Printing and the Publication of the Irish Statutes in the Sixteenth 
Century." Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 49, sect. C, no. 2 (1943): 45-129. 


"Agenda for Irish History: Ireland from 1461 to 1603." Irish Historical Studies 4 (1945): 

"Sir Thomas Smith (1513-1577) and the Beginnings of English Colonial Theory." 
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 89 (1945): 543-60. 


"Edward Walshe's 'Conjectures' Concerning the State of Ireland, [1552]." Irish Historical 
Studies 5 (1947): 303-22. 

Raleigh and the British Empire. London, 1947, 1962, 1973; New York, 1949, enlarged 

Publications of David Beers Quinn 257 


"The Failure of Raleigh's American Colonies." In Essays in British and Irish History 
in Honour ofJ.E. Todd, edited by H.A. Cronne, T.W. Moody, and D.B. Quinn. 
London, 1949: 61-85. 

"Preparations for the 1585 Virginia Voyage." William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 
6 (1949): 208-36. 


"The Expansion of Europe to 1783." Annual Bulletin of Historical Literature. London: 
Historical Association, 1950 and annually to 1959, and 1960 with A.N. Ryan. 

"Ireland, History [from 1171]." Chamber's Encyclopedia. London, 1950, and subsequent 


"Some Spanish Reactions to Elizabethan Colonial Enterprises." Transactions of the Royal 
Historical Society, 5th ser., 1 (1951): 1-23. 


"Christopher Newport in 1590." North Carolina Historical Review 29 (1952): 305-16. 


Preface to Black Gown and Redskins: Adventures and Travels of the Early fesuit Missionaries 
in North America (1610-1791), edited by E. Kenton. New York, 1954; London, 1956, 


The Roanoke Voyages, 1584-1590: Documents to Illustrate the English Voyages to North 
America under the Patent Granted to Walter Raleigh in 1584. 2 vols. Hakluyt Society, 
2nd ser., nos. 104-05. London, 1955; Nendeln, 1967. (Index by Alison Quinn). 


"The Library as the Arts Faculty's Laboratory." 23rd Conference of Library Authorities 
in Wales and Monmouthshire, Newport, 1956. Swansea, 1956: 14-18. 

"A Merchant's Long Memory." Gower 9 (1956): 8-11. 

258 Raleigh and Quinn 


"Ireland and Sixteenth Century European Expansion." In Historical Studies: I: Papers 
Read before the Second Irish Conference of Historians, edited by T. Desmond Williams. 
London, 1958: 22-32; reprinted with corrections, Tralee, 1959. 

"Local History in Perspective." Morgannwg 2 (1958): 3-8. 


"Die Anfange des Britischen Weltreiches bis zum Ende der Napoleonischen Kriege." 
In Historia Mundi: Eine Handhuch der Weltgeschichte 8 (1959): 455-95. 

"Notes by a Pious Colonial Investor, 1608-1610." William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd 
ser., 16 (1959): 551-55. 

(With Jacques Rousseau). "Hakluyt et le Mot 'Esquimau.'" Revue de I'Historie de 
I'Amerique Francaise 12 (1959): 597-601. 


"Edward Hayes, Liverpool Colonial Pioneer." Transactions of the Historic Society of 
Lancashire and Cheshire 111 (1960): 25-45. 

"Henry the Navigator." Listener (27 October 1960): 736-738. 


"The Argument for the English Discovery of America between 1480 and 1494." 
Geographical Journal 127 (1961): 277-85. 

"Henry VIII and Ireland, 1509-1534." Irish Historical Studies 12 (1961): 318-44. 

"Simao Fernandes, a Portuguese Pilot in the English Service, circa 1573-1588." In 
Actas, Congresso Internacional de Historia dos Descobrimentos, 3 (Lisbon, 1961): 449-65. 


"The Voyage of Etienne Bellenger to the Maritimes in 1584; a New Document." 
Canadian Historical Review 43 (1962): 328-43. 


(With Paul Hulton). "John White and the English Naturalists." History Today 13 (1963): 

Publications of David Beers Quinn 259 


(With Paul Hulton). The American Drawings of John White. 2 vols. London and Chapel 
Hill, 1964. 

The New Found Land: The English Contribution to the Discovery and Settlement of North 
America, An Address . . . Together with a Catalogue of the Exhibition. Providence, R.I.: 
John Carter Brown Library, 1964. 

"Sailors and the Sea." In Shakespeare Survey 17, edited by Allardyce Nicoll. Cambridge, 
1964; reprinted 1976: 21-36, 242-45. 


"Elizabethan Birdman." Times Literary Supplement (1 April 1965): 250. 

"England and the St. Lawrence, 1577 to 1602." In Merchants and Scholars, edited by 
John Parker. Minneapolis, 1965: 117-44. 

"Etienne Bellenger," "Thomas Bradley," "Richard Clarke," "Thomas Croft," "Sir 
Bernard Drake," "Hugh Eliot," "Richard Fisher," "Sir Humphrey Gilbert," "Ed- 
ward Hayes," "Richard Hore," "David Ingram," "John Jay," "George Johnson," 
"La Court de Pre-Ravillon et de Grandpre," "Charles Leigh," "Madoc," "Anthony 
Parkhurst," "Stephanus Parmenius," "John Rastell," "John Rut," "Lancelot Thirkill," 
"Robert Thorne," "Silvester Wyet." In Dictionary of Canadian Biography/ Dictionnaire 
Biographique du Canada, 1, 1000-1700, edited by G.W. Brown, Marcel Trudel, and 
Andre Vachon. Toronto and Quebec, 1965. 

"Exploration and the Expansion of Europe." Rapports, 1, Comite International des Sciences 
Historiques, XIF Congres International des Sciences Historiques. Vienna, 1965: 45-60. 

(With R.A. Skelton). Richard Hakluyt, The Principall Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries 
of the English Nation: A Facsimile of the Edition of 1589, with an Introduction by DB. 
Quinn and R.A. Skelton and with an Index by Alison Quinn. 2 vols. Hakluyt Society, 
Extra Series, 39. Cambridge, 1965. 


"Advice for Investors in Virginia, Bermuda, and Newfoundland, 1611." William and 
Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 23 (1966): 136-45. 

The Elizabethans and the Irish. Ithaca, N.Y.: Folger Monographs on Tudor and Stuart 
Civilization, 1966. (Index by Alison Quinn). 

"Etat Present des Etudes sur la Decouverte de lAmerique au XV e Siecle." fournal de 
la Societe des Americanistes 55 (1966): 343-82. 

"The First Pilgrims." William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 23 (1966): 359-90. 

"The Munster Plantation: Problems and Opportunities." fournal of the Cork Historical 
and Archaeological Society 71 (1966): 19-40. 

260 Raleigh and Quinn 

(With Jacques Rousseau). "Les Toponymes Amerindiens du Canada Chez les Anciens 
Voyageurs Anglais, 1591-1602." Cahiers de Geographie de Quebec 10 (1966): 263-78. 

"The Road to Jamestown." In Shakespeare Celebrated, edited by Louis B. Wright. Ithaca, 
N.Y.: Folger Library Publications, 1966: 31-60. 

(With P.G. Foote). "The Vinland Map." Saga Book, Viking Society for Northern Research 
17 (1966): 63-89. 


"Calendar of the Irish Council Book, 1 March 1581 to 1 July 1586." Analecta Hibemica 
24 (1967): 93-180. 

"The English Discovery of America." In The Expansion oj Europe, edited by DeLamar 
Jensen. Boston, 1967: 47-51. 

"John Cabot's Matthew!' In Times Literary Supplement (8 June 1967): 517. 

"John Day and Columbus." Geographical Journal 133 (1967): 205-09. 

(With Warner F. Gookin). "Martin Pring at Provincetown in 1603?" New England 
Quarterly 40 (1967): 79-91. 

(Editor). Observations Gathered out of 'A Discourse of the Plantation of the Southern Colony 
in Virginia by the English, 1606.' Written by That Honorable Gentleman, Master George 
Percy. Charlottesville, 1967. 

Richard Hakluyt, Editor: With Facsimiles of Richard Hakluyt, Divers Voyages Touching the 
Discoverie of America (1582), and A Journal of Several Voyages into New France (1580). 
2 vols. Amsterdam, 1967. (Index by Alison Quinn). 


"La Contribution des Anglais a la Decouverte de lAmerique du Nord au XVI e Siecle." 
In Manuel Ballesteros-Gaibrois et ah, La Decouverte de LAmerique: Esquisse d'une 
Synthese: Conditions Historiques et Consequences Culturelles. Paris, 1968: 61-76. 

Sebastian Cabot and Bristol Exploration. Bristol Branch of the Historical Association, 
Local History Pamphlets, 21, Bristol, 1968: 30. 

(With R. Dudley Edwards). "Thirty Years' Work in Irish History (ii); Sixteenth Cen- 
tury Ireland, 1485-1603." Irish Historical Studies 16 (1968): 15-32. 


(With John W. Shirley). "A Contemporary List of Hariot References." Renaissance 
Quarterly 22 (1969): 9-26. 

Jamestown Day Address, May 11, 1969. Richmond: Association for the Preservation 
of Virginia Antiquities, 1969. 

Publications of David Beers Quinn 261 

"Josias Crowe," "Archibald Cumings," "Samuel Gledhill," "Arthur Holdsworth," 
"Thomas Lloyd," "William Pynne," "James Smith." In Dictionary of Canadian 
Biography/ Dictionnaire Biographique du Canada, 2, 1701-1740, edited by David M. 
Hayne and Andre Vachon. Toronto and Quebec, 1969. 

"A List of Books Purchased for the Virginia Company." Virginia Magazine of History 
and Biography 77 (1969): 347-60. 

(With AC. Crombie, J.V. Pepper, JW. Shirley, and R.C.H. Tanner). "Thomas Harriot 
(1560-1621): An Original Practitioner in the Scientific Art." Times Literary Supple- 
ment (23 October 1969): 1237-38. 


"Additional Sidney State Papers, 1566-1570." Analecta Hihernica 26 (1970): 89-98. 

"Thomas Hariot and the Virginia Voyages of 1602." William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd 
series, 27 (1970): 268-81. 

"'Virginians' on the Thames in 1603." Terrae Incognitae 2 (1970): 7-14. 


(With W.P. Cumming and R.A. Skelton). The Discovery of North America. London 
and New York, 1971. (Index by Mollie Skelton and Alison Quinn). 

North American Discovery, Circa 1000-1612. New York and Columbia, S.C., 1971. 

"Raleigh Ashlin Skelton: His Contributions to the History of Discovery." Imago Mundi 
25 (1971): 13-15. 

(With R. Dudley Edwards). "Sixteenth Century Ireland." In Irish Historiography, edited 
by T.W. Moody, Dublin, 1971: 23-42. 

"A Tempest Allusion?" Shakespeare Quarterly 22 (1971): 78. 

"The Voyage of Triall, 1606-1607: An Abortive Virginia Venture." American Neptune 
31 (1971): 85-103. 


(With Neil M. Cheshire). The New Found Land of Stephen Parmenius. Toronto, 1972. 
(Index by Alison Quinn). 

"Richard Hakluyt and His Successors." Annual Report of the Hakluyt Society (1972): 1-11. 

"William Montgomery and the Description of the Ards." Irish Booklore 2 (1972): 29-43. 


(With Alison M. Quinn). Virginia Voyages from Hakluyt. London, 1973. 

262 Raleigh and Quinn 


"Budai Parmenius Istvan: Az Elso Magyarutazo Eszak-Amerikaban." Irodalomtbrteneti 
Kozlemenyeh 2 (1974): 203-10. 

England and the Discovery of America, 1481-1620. London and New York, 1974. (Index 
by Alison Quinn). 

(With W.P. Cumming et al). The Exploration of North America, 1630-1776. London, 

(Editor). The Hakluyt Handbook. 2 vols, Hakluyt Society, 2nd series, nos. 144 and 
145, London, 1974. (Index by Alison Quinn). 

"James I and the Beginnings of Empire in America." Journal of Imperial and Common- 
wealth History 2 (1974): 135-52. 

"Stephen Parmenius of Buda: The First Hungarian in North America." New Hungarian 
Quarterly 14 (1974): 152-57. 

"Thomas Harriot and the New World." In Thomas Harriot, Renaissance Scientist, edited 
by John W Shirley. Oxford, 1974: 36-53. 

"The Vinland Map and the Historian." Geographical Journal 140 (1974): 194-99. 

"William Taverner." In Dictionary of Canadian Biography/Dictionnaire Biographique du 
Canada, 3, 1740-1770, edited by F.G. Halpenny et al. Toronto and Quebec, 1974. 


"An Anglo-French 'Voyage of Discovery' to North America in 1604-05, and Its Sequel." 
In Miscellanea Offerts a Charles Verlinden a I'Occasion de Ses Trente ans de Professorat, 
2 vols, Ghent, 1975: 513-34; also in Bulletin de llnstitut Historique Beige de Rome 
14 (1974): 513-34. 

The Last Voyage of Thomas Cavendish, 1591-1592. Chicago and London, 1975. (Index 
by Alison Quinn). 

(With Selma Barkham). "Privateering: The North American Dimension (to 1625)." 
In Course et Piraterie, edited by M. Mollat, 2 vols., Paris, 1975: 360-86. 


"The Attempted Colonization of Florida by the French, 1562-1565." In Paul Hulton, 
The Work of Jacques he Moyne de Morgues, A Huguenot Artist in France, Florida and 
England (1976): 17-44. 

"Did Bristol Sailors Discover America?" The Times (30 April 1976): 17. 

"Edward Walshe's The Office and Duety in Fightyng for Our Countrey (1545)." Irish 
Booklore 3 (1976): 28-31. 

Publications of David Beers Quinn 263 

"The English Contribution to Early Overseas Discovery." Terrae Incognitae 8 (1976): 

"Hungary's First American." In Mulberry Tree Papers. St. Mary's College of Maryland 
(Fall 1976): 3-9. 

(With K.W. Nicholls). "Ireland in 1534." In A New History of Ireland, edited by T.W. 
Moody, F.X. Martin, and F.J. Byrne, 3 (1976): 1-38. (Index by Alison Quinn). 

"New Geographical Horizons: Literature." In First Images of America, edited by 
F. Chiapelli. 2 vols. Los Angeles, 1976, 2, 635-58. 

"Renaissance Influences in English Colonization." Transactions of the Royal Historical 
Society, 5th ser., 25 (1976): 73-93. 


"The Attempted Colonisation of Florida by the French, 1562-1565." In P. Hulton, 
The Work of Jacques he Moyne de Morgues, Vol. I. London, 1977: 18-40. 

(With H.A. Cronne, TW Moody, eds.). Essays in British and Irish History in Honour 
ofJ.E. Todd. New York, 1977. Reprint. 

"John Denton Desires William Kearney to Print Books for Use in Down, circa 1588: 
A Sidelight on Printing in Ireland." Irish Booklore 3 (1977): 87-90. 

North America from First Discovery to Early Settlements: The Norse Voyages to 1612. New 
York, 1977. 


"A Chance Rag-Bag of Survivals: The Archives of Early American History." Library 
Journal 103 (1978): 2305-09. 

"Documenting Canada's White History." Archivaria 7 (1978): 86-93. 

"The Preliminaries to New France: Site Selection for the Fur Trade by the French, 
1604-1608." In Festschrift fur Hermann Kellenbenz, edited by Jiirgen Schneider. West 
Germany, 1978. 


"England and the Azores, 1581-1583: Three Letters." Lisbon: Centra de Estudos de 
Cartografia Antigo. Seccao de Lisboa. Serie Separatas 123. 1979. 

(With Alison M. Quinn and Susan Hillier, eds.) New American World: A Documentary 
History of North America from the Earliest Times to 1612. 5 vols. New York and 
London, 1979. 

"Spaniards at Sea." Times Literary Supplement (16 December 1981): 1473-74. 

264 Raleigh and Quinn 


(With N. Cheshire, T. Waldron, and Alison M. Quinn). "Frobisher's Eskimos in 
England." Archivaria 10 (1980): 23-50. 


Contributions on the Americas in Jan Rotz, The Boke of Idrography, edited by Helen 
Wallis. Roxburghe Club, 1981. 

Drake's Circumnavigation of the Globe: A Review. Harte Lecture. Exeter, 1981. 

"La Femme et PEnfant Inuit de Nuremberg, 1566." Recherches-Amerindiennes de Quebec 
11 (1981): 311-13. 

"The Myriad Cities of the West: A Review Article." Town Planning Review 56 (1981): 

Sources for the Ethnography of Northeastern North America to 1611. Museum of Man 
Mercury Series No. 76. Ottawa, 1981. 


." In G.M. Story, ed. Early English Settlement and Exploitation in Eastern 
Canada. St. Johns, 1982: 9-30. 

(Editor). Early Maryland in a Wider World. Detroit, 1982. 

(With Alison M. Quinn, eds.). The First Colonists: Documents on the Planting of the 
First English Settlements in North America, 1584-1590. Raleigh, 1982; reprinted 1985. 
(Reprinted from Virginia Voyages from Hakluyt, London, 1973, with a new Preface 
by D.B. Quinn. 

"Turks, Moors, Blacks and Others in Drake's West Indian Voyage." Terrae Incognitae 
14 (1982): 97-104. 


(With A.N. Ryan). England's Sea Empire, 1550-1640. London, 1983. 

(With Alison M. Quinn). The English New England Voyages, 1602-1608. Hakluyt 
Society, 1983. 

"Foreword." S.E. Morrison, Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Lije of Christopher Columbus. 
Paperback ed. Boston, 1983: xvii-xix. 

Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Newfoundland. St. Johns, 1983. 

Publications of David Beers Quinn 265 


"American Students and British Students." Precinct (Dec. 1984), University of Liverpool. 

"Early Accounts of the Famous Voyage." In Sir Francis Drake and the Famous Voyage, 
1577-1580, edited by Norman J.W Thrower. Berkeley, 1984: 33-48. 

The Lost Colonists: Their Fortune and Probable Fate. Raleigh, 1984. 

"John Horace Parry (1914-1982)." American Philosophical Society Yearbook, 1983, 
Philadelphia, 1984: 421-25. 

"Spanish Armada Prisoners' Escape from Ireland." Mariner's Mirror 70 (1984): 117-18. 

"Wales and the West." In Welsh Society and Nationhood: Essays Presented to Glanmor 
Williams, edited by R.R. Davies, R.A. Griffiths, I.G. Jones, K.O. Morgan. Cardiff, 
1984: 90-107. 


(With Alison M. Quinn, eds.) Derricke, John. The Image of Ireland, 1581. Belfast, 
1985 (1986). 

"The Lost Colony." In Raleigh in Exeter, 1985: Privateering and Colonisation in the Reign 
of Elizabeth I. Exeter, 1985: 59-72. 

Set Fair for Roanoke: Voyages and Colonies, 1584-1606. Chapel Hill, 1985. 

"Travel by Sea and Land." In William Shakespeare: His World, His Work, His Influence, 
edited by John F. Andrews. 3 vols. New York, 1985: vol. 1, 195-200. 


"Artists and Illustrators in the Early Mapping of North America." Mariner's Mirror 
72 (1986): 244-72. (E.G.R. Taylor Lecture, 1982). 

(With Alison M. Quinn). Contributions to The Complete Works of Captain John Smith, 
edited by PL. Barbour. 3 vols. Chapel Hill, 1986. 

"Ireland, 1460-1534." A New History of Ireland, edited by T.W. Moody, F.X. Martin, 
F.J. Byrne. Oxford, 1986: 591-687. 

Theory and Practice: Roanoke and Jamestown. Greenville, N.C., 1986. (Lawrence F. 
Brewster Lecture). 


(With William C. Sturtevant). "The New Prey: Eskimos in Europe in 1567, 1576, 
and 1577." In Indians and Europe, edited by Christian Feest. Aachen, 1987. 

"Visions, 1567." Album Kenneth Muir 80. Liverpool, 1987. 

266 Raleigh and Quinn 

In press 

"Colonies in the Beginning: Some Examples from North America." In Essays on the 
History of North American History and Exploration. Texas A.&M. at Arlington Univer- 
sity Press. (Walter Prescott Webb Lecture at University of Texas). 

"La Connaissance des peuples et Societies exotiques." Histoire Comparee des Litteratures 
en Langues Europeennes. L'Epoque de la Renaissance. 4. Crises et essors nouveaux, 

"Edmund Spenser's 'View of the State of Ireland.'" In The Spenser Encyclopaedia, edited 
by AC. Hamilton. Toronto University Press. 

The Elizabethans and the Irish. Reissue, with new preface. Dublin. 

"North America, the Circumnavigations." In The Purchas Handbook, edited by Loren 
Pennington. Hakluyt Society. 

"North Carolina, My First Contacts, 1948-1959," and "Reflections." In Raleigh and 
Quinn: The Explorer and His Boswell, edited by H.G. Jones. North Caroliniana Society 
Imprints, No. 14 (1987). 

*Adapted by Robert G. Anthony, Jr., from Alison M. Quinn and P.E.H. Hair (com- 
pilers), "The Writings of D.B. Quinn," in K.R. Andrews, N.P. Canny, and P.E.H. 
Hair (editors), The Westward Enterprise: English Activities in Ireland, the Atlantic, and 
America, 1480-1650 (Liverpool, 1978), with typescript additions furnished by David 
B. Quinn, 1987. 

Sir Walter's Surname 

Sir Walter's Surname 

Compiled by H. G. Jones 

The spelling of Sir Walter's surname has long been debated by his biographers, 
some belligerently claiming only one correct spelling, others granting license 
to inconsistency. William Stebbing, in his Sir Whiter Ralegh, A Biography (Oxford: 
Clarendon Press, 1891), p. 30, put the issue in perspective: "There was no standard 
of orthography for surnames till the latter part of the seventeenth century. Neither 
the owners, nor others were slaves to uniformity. Posterity has used its own 
liberty of selection, often very arbitrarily. . . . For Ralegh's name his contem- 
poraries never had a fixed rule to the end of him. Transcribers with the signature 
before them would not copy it; they could not keep to one form of their own. 
His correspondents and friends followed the idea of the moment." 

Willard M. Wallace, in his Sir Whiter Raleigh (Princeton: Princeton University 
Press, 1959), pp. 319-320, counted more than seventy contemporary spellings 
of the courtier's name: Raleigh, Ralegh, Rawley, Raweley, Raulie, Rawlegh, 
Rawleigh, Rawleighe, Raleghe, Rawlye, Rawleie, Rawligh, Raileigh, Raughlie, 
Rauleigh, Raleighe, Raylie, Raghley, Raghlie, Rawleygh, Rawleyghe, Rawely, 
Ralighe, Raule, Rawlee, Rauley, Rawleye, Raulyghe, Rawlyghe, Raileigh, 
Rawlighe, Rawleighe, Rauleighe, Raughlie, Rallegh, Rawlei, Rauly, Raughley, 
Raughly, Raylye, Rolye, Rolle, Raughleigh, Raleikk, Rale, Real, Reali, Ralego, 
Rahlegh, Raley, Raleye, Raleagh, Raleygh, Raleyghe, Ralli, Raughleye, Rauleghe, 
Raulghe, Raweleigh, Raylygh, Reigley, Rhaleigh, Rhaly, Wrawly, Wrawley, 
Raleich, Ralo, Ralle, Halley, Raulaeus, and Raleghus. The Spanish often used 
his first name — Gualtero, Guatteral, or Gualteral. 

To King James, he was Raleigh and Raulie; to Henry Howard, Ralegh and 
Rawlie; to Cecil, Raleigh, Ralegh, and Rawley; and to his wife he was usually 
Ralegh but on at least one occasion Raleigh. Sir Walter himself used three spellings 
in a single deed dated 1578 — Rawleyghe, Rawlygh, and Ralegh. In later life 
he preferred Ralegh. 

Stebbing, however, may have stubbed his pencil when he wrote (p. 31), "Of 
the one fact there is no doubt. The spelling Raleigh, which posterity has preferred, 
happens to be one he is not known to have every employed." 

No doubt? Ever? We leave the debate to others, but with considerable 
mischievousness we toss into the controversy the indenture from Walter Raleigh 
to Phillip Haywood and Johanne Haywood Somers, the original of which is 
in the Sir Walter Raleigh Collection, a part of the University of North Carolina 
Library's North Carolina Collection. Dated 4 December 1583, the document 
spells the name with an "i" throughout, including the steel-stamped signature. 
To those who argue that the stamp may not have been made from a genuine 


Raleigh and Quinn 

Raleigh signature, we point out that if that be the case, the legality of the license 
may be in doubt. If so, such a technicality appears to have bothered neither 
the father-daughter vintners, who gladly practiced their trade, nor Walter Raleigh, 
who just as gladly accepted his handsome fee for the grant of the license. 



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Walter Raleigh's license, 4 December 1583, authorizing Phillip Haywood and his 
daughter Johanne Haywood Somers to keep a tavern in Lyme Regis. Throughout, 
Raleigh's name is spelled with an "i". The original is in the North Carolina Collec- 
tion's Sir Walter Raleigh Collection. 

North Caroliniana Society, Inc. 

North Carolina Collection 

UNC Library 024-A 

Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514 

Chartered on September 11, 1975, as a private nonprofit corporation under provisions of 
Chapter 55A of the General Statutes of North. Carolina, the North Caroliniana Society has 
as its main purpose the promotion of increased knowledge and appreciation of North Carolina 
heritage through studies, publications, meetings, seminars, and other programs, especially 
through assistance to the North Carolina Collection of The University of North Carolina 
Library in the acquisition, preservation, care, use and display of, and the promotion of interest 
in, historical and literary materials relating to North Carolina and North Carolinians. The 
Society, a tax-exempt organization under provisions of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue 
Code, depends upon the contributions, bequests, and devises of its members and friends. 

Unofficially limited to one hundred North Carolinians who have contributed significantly 
to the state, the Society elects additional individuals meeting its criterion of "adjudged perfor- 
mance," thus bringing together men and women who have shown their respect for and commit- 
ment to our state's unique historical, literary, and cultural inheritance. 

A highlight of the Society's year is the presentation of the North Caroliniana Society Award 
to an individual adjudged to have given unusually distinguished service over a period of years 
to the encouragement, promotion, enhancement, production, and preservation of North 

The North Carolina Collection, the headquarters for the North Caroliniana Society, has 
been called the "Conscience of North Carolina," for it seeks to preserve for present and future 
generations all that has been or is published about the state and its localities and people 
or by North Carolinians, regardless of subject. In this mission the Collection's clientele is 
broader than the University community; indeed, it is the entire citizenry of North Carolina 
as well as those outside the state whose research extends to North Carolina or North Carolinians. 
Its acquisitions are made possible by gifts and private endowment funds; thus, it also represents 
the respect that North Carolinians have for their heritage. Members of the North Caroliniana 
Society have a very special relationship to this unique institution which traces its beginnings 
back to 1844 and which is unchallenged as the outstanding collection of printed North Carolini- 
ana in existence. A leaflet, "North Carolina's Literary Heritage," is available without charge 
from the Collection. 

Board of Directors (1987) 

Archie K. Davis, President 

William S. Powell, Vice-President 

H. G. Jones, Secretary -Treasurer 

William McWhorter Cochrane Frank H. Kenan 

Louis M. Connor, Jr. Henry W. Lewis 

William C. Friday George Elliot London 

Frank Borden Hanes Edward L. Rankin, Jr. 

Betty Hodges William D. Snider 

Willis P. Whichard 

Statue of Sir Walter Raleigh, wood, eighteenth-century, in the 
Sir Walter Raleigh Rooms of the North Caroliniana Gallery.